Foreign Donations to Clinton Foundation Raise Ethical Questions

AP/Jason DeCrow
AP/Jason DeCrow

On Wednesday, Bill and Hillary Clinton were forced to defend the recent rise in foreign donations sent to their foundation, donations which sparked ethical questions over the propriety of a possible presidential candidate raking in massive donations from foreign governments.

review of the donations of the Clinton foundation conducted by the Wall Street Journal showed that the charity received donations from several Muslim nations, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Saudi Arabia as well as Canadian interests.

In 2009, the Clinton foundation voluntarily ended the practice of taking donations from foreign governments when Hillary became Secretary of State — but has since quietly renewed the practice.

The review found that the UAE donated up to $5 million. Other donations include the German government’s $250,000, and the Saudi’s $25 million.

But the donations from foreign governments raise ethical concerns.

“The potential conflict of interest for someone in Clinton’s position requires they return the money, and the ethical lapse to accept the money in the first place calls into question Hillary Clinton’s judgment,” GOP research group America Rising said in a statement on Wednesday.

Others agree.

“Now that she is gearing up to run for president, the same potential exists for foreign governments to curry favor with her as a potential president of the United States,” Kirk Hanson, director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California, told Fox News.

The Republican National Committee joined the chorus of criticism, saying that the money was a “massive” conflict of interest. “When that 3 a.m. phone call comes, do voters really want to have a president on the line who took truckloads of cash from other countries? Absolutely not,” spokesman Michaeel Short told the Journal.

The Clinton Foundation fought back against the charges with a statement: “The Clinton Foundation has strong donor integrity and transparency practices that go above and beyond what is required of U.S. charities and well beyond the practices of most peer organizations. This includes the voluntary, full disclosure of donors on our website for anyone to see.”

“The bottom line: these contributions are helping improve the lives of millions of people across the world, for which we are grateful,” the statement added.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at 


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