Hillary Clinton is facing more questions about her close ties to Wall Street financial institutions. Last week, the New York Times urged Clinton to release transcripts of her highly-compensated speeches to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.
The paid speeches are just a slim chapter of her relationship with financial titans. According to Clinton Foundation records, Wall Street financial institutions have donated around $40 million to the eponymous family foundation.
As a non-profit, the Clinton Foundation isn’t legally required to disclose its donors or contributions. The Foundation has publicly disclosed some contributions on its website. It only provides ranges for contributions, e.g. $1-5 million, and doesn’t detail when the contribution was made or for what purpose, if any.
Here’s the chart of contributions from Wall Street to the Clinton Foundation.
Four major Wall Street institutions stand out; Barclays, Barclays Capitol, Goldman Sachs and Citi. Each are listed as given between $1 million and $5 million to the Foundation. Citigroup, UBS, Banc of California and Bank of America are listed as giving up to $1 million to the Foundation.
All together, contributions from readily identifiable Wall Street institutions to the Foundation total somewhere between $11 million and $41 million in contributions. If we assume the donations fall in the middle of the ranges disclosed by the Clinton Foundation, the contributions would total just under $30 million.
As with most things involving the Clintons, the devil is in the details. This total of contributions does not include those made by individuals with strong Wall Street ties. It also does not necessarily represent the total amounts contributed to the Foundation from those donors listed. It only accounts for the donations which the Foundation has chosen to disclose.
The failure of the Foundation to include any information on the timing of the donations is especially worrisome. In terms of donor relationships, there is a real difference between a one-time gift of $1 million and an ongoing gift of $200,000 for 5 straight years. The total dollar amount may be the same, but an ongoing gift usually requires a more substantive relationship between the Foundation and the donor.
There is, of course, an added dimension to the timing issue with the Clintons. During the life of the Foundation, Hillary Clinton has been a US Senator, Secretary of State and two-time candidate for President.
When the Clinton Foundation discloses that the “Friends of Saudi Arabia” contributed $1-5 million, it begs the obvious question of when that donation was made. The specific date of that donation is particularly important, given Clinton’s considerable focus on the Middle East while she was Secretary of State.
It is also important to note that these contributions are completely seperate from the paid speeches made by Bill and Hillary Clinton. In 2013 alone, Hillary earned just over $3 million in paid speeches to financial firms and institutions.
These contributions, obviously, also don’t include direct contributions made by Wall Street institutions and individuals to either of Clinton’s Presidential campaigns.
In a recent Democrat debate, Clinton’s sole challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders challenged her, “Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions and millions of dollars on campaign contributions…And when they are providing speaking fees to individuals?”
He should have added that Wall Street has showered Clinton’s family foundation with millions in contributions.
Wall Street, and the financial industry generally, is not simply a special interest contributing to Clinton’s political ambitions. It is woven into the very fabric of the Clinton’s lives. It fuels her politial ambitions, provides employment to Bill and Hillary through generous speaking fees, and it underwrites a significant amount of the work undertaken by the family’s Clinton Foundation.
If the Clintons were any closer to Wall Street and financial firms, they would probably have to file SEC disclosures. They could very well be the first American family with their own Dodd-Frank regulation.