The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Clinton foundation’s flagship project, has failed for years to disclose hundreds of millions in foreign government donations as required by New York State law, according to an investigative report by Scripps Washington Bureau.
From 2010 to 2014, CHAI failed to list $225 million in contributions on disclosure forms with the New York state government, which requires charities to itemize each domestic and foreign government donation.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was appointed by Hillary Clinton to her campaign’s “leadership council” in New York, refuses to enforce his office’s law and compel CHAI to publicly disclose the names of foreign governments and the millions in contributions they’ve donated.
The Internal Revenue Service requires charities to disclose the total amount of contributions received from foreign and domestic governments, but does not require charities to publicly identify its government contributors on their federal tax filings. However, according to New York law, charities operating in the state must publicly disclose “the name of each agency” and “the amount of each contribution” received from any government agency, each year.
In 2009, Secretary Clinton’s first year heading the State Department, the Clinton Foundation disclosed to New York only a lump sum of $122 million in foreign government donations, listing the amount on a required form that directs all charities to “list each government contribution (grant) separately.” The foundation continued to provide the lump sum disclosures for foreign governments in every year that followed.
In 2010 — the first year CHAI had legally separated from the Clinton Foundation — it disclosed $242,099 in “Total Government Contributions” to New York regulators and told the IRS it received aa lump sum of $26,740,319 in foreign and domestic government grants.
The New York Attorney General’s office published a set of detailed instructions for all charities to follow. It directs them to make sure the total amount of government contributions disclosed to the state is equal to what the charities report to the IRS. From 2010-2014, for every year it has filed disclosures with the state, the Clinton Health Access Initiative has ignored this direction.
For years CHAI followed this pattern, without intervention from Schneiderman’s office, of flat-out ignoring New York state’s more rigid disclosure requirements which ask that charities publicly disclose and itemize each domestic and foreign government donation.
Schneiderman’s office says the Clinton Foundation is “in step” with state rules, Scripps reports.
Scripps notes that “In a letter written in November 2014, CHAI itemized domestic government grants but told the New York attorney general’s office it ‘”also received foreign government contributions and can provide those in more details if needed.”‘
It never provided those details.
“We believe that we are following instructions by recording the (domestic government grants) we receive on the New York form and indicating that we will provide them with foreign government donor information if they would like it,” CHAI spokesperson Regan Lachapelle wrote in an email to Scripps. “We clearly state in our cover letter that we would provide details on funding from international governments upon request.”
Lachapelle says CHAI provides “aggregate” amounts of all government donations found on its federal tax returns to New York officials. “The officials in New York have never questioned our way of doing this,” Lachapelle said.
That is, “less than the law requires,” says John Wonderlich, head of the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group.
“It appears as though the Clinton Health Access Initiative is attempting to disclose less than the law requires, and to deflect blame onto the attorney general’s office as though financial disclosure requirements are individually negotiated on a by-request basis,” he said.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, Schneiderman’s office pointed to quotes from his press secretary who said the Clinton Foundation is but one of many charities in the state that file disclosures by only listing a lump sum amount for foreign government donations.
“We intend to provide guidance clarifying our disclosure rules in the months ahead,” Schneiderman’s office said in a statement.
But Wonderlich, of The Sunlight Foundation, says pointing to bad behavior by those we’re indifferent to as a means to justify bad behavior by those we may support doesn’t excuse Schneiderman from enforcing the law.
“Even if there have been other organizations that failed to disclose their foreign donors, that’s not an excuse for the Clinton Foundation to not disclose their foreign donors, and it’s not an excuse for Schneiderman’s office to fail to enforce the law,” Wonderlich said.
For more than a year, Hillary Clinton has been dogged by allegations that she used her position as secretary of state to sell access to major Clinton Foundation donors. Now, a majority of Americans say Bill and Hillary Clinton failed to avoid conflicts of interest as millions of dollars flowed into their corrupt family foundation.
CHAI’s failure to list the names of its foreign funders only adds fuel to the fire.
Last month, Bill Clinton promised that he will resign from the Clinton Foundation board if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.
However the former president failed to mention his position as chairman of the board of CHAI. Chelsea Clinton is also a member of CHAI’s board.
Responding to Bill Clinton’s announcement, Lachapelle told Reuters “CHAI is a separate legal entity from the Clinton Foundation with its own Board,” adding that “The CHAI Board will be meeting soon to determine its next steps.”
“The law requires foreign donors to be disclosed and the [New York] attorney general, the [New York] attorney general’s office is permitting them to go undisclosed,” Wonderlich said. “Voters deserve to have a full picture of what Secretary Clinton, and the Clintons together have created, and all the ways that that might be entangled in a presidency.”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson