The PBS moderators at Thursday night’s Democratic debate failed to ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton any questions about the Clinton Foundation, despite news earlier in the day that the State Department had sent it a subpoena for documents about its activities during her tenure in office.
Co-moderator Judy Woodruff happens to be a donor to the Clinton Foundation, and faced criticism from the PBS ombudsman in 2015 for giving to the Clintons.
Woodruff is one of several journalists who has contributed to the Clinton Foundation, which has been criticized as a “slush fund” for the Clintons’ own expenses, rather than on direct giving to charitable programs.
PBS has covered the potential conflict of interest for Hillary Clinton, who has been accused of using her position as Secretary of State to direct donations to the foundation. Emails to that effect are suspected of being on her private email server.
The subpoena to the foundation from the State Department inspector general sought “documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state,” according to the Washington Post, which broke the story Thursday.
The subpoena also apparently sought information on Clinton aide Huma Abedin, “who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.”
Neither Woodruff nor co-moderator Gwen Ifill broached the subject. Clinton’s rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has also declined to criticize her for her emails and potential conflicts of interest.
Voters, however, have noticed. Exit polls from New Hampshire showed that 5% of Democrats saw Clinton as trustworthy, versus 93% for Sanders.