Top donors and foreign leaders ditched this year’s annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, run by Bill and Hillary Clinton, reportedly due to Hillary Clinton’s embattled presidential campaign.
The CGI meeting, held in New York, was even skipped by President Barack Obama, for the first time since he’s been in the White House.
The Obama and Clinton camps are rumored to be sparring, with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett this week saying Clinton violated official private email scandal.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both skipped the event, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last year’s top six corporate sponsors all declined to send donations this year. They included HSBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Deutsche Bank.
“I’ve heard a lot of companies have shied away because it is a political year,” one guest told the Journal.
“Some have characterized the turnover of a handful of CGI’s sponsors as ‘trouble’ for CGI and ‘abandoning’ the Clintons, but this is just another example of critics trying to politicize philanthropy, and the facts don’t bear out the argument,” said CGI CEO Robert Harrison.
Chelsea Clinton appeared on a panel about unleashing women’s opportunities, but she did not have the opportunity to speak to a room full of people. The “Unleashing Women’s Economic Opportunities” only filled up about two-thirds of a ballroom.