Wikileaks: Clinton Foundation Misled Employees About Results of Internal Audit

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivers a speech during the annual Clinton Global Initiative on September 21, 2016 in New York City. Clinton defended the foundation, founded in 2005, at the final CGI meeting. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The Clinton Foundation gave incomplete and misleading information to its own employees about their feedback given during a corporate review, according to a memo seen in the latest Wikileaks release of John Podesta’s purported emails.

Jennifer Reynoso, a New York lawyer who conducted the review in 2011, disseminated talking points for a Clinton Foundation staff meeting to John Podesta, Cheryl Mills, Chelsea Clinton, and Bruce Lindsey in January 2012.  The memo covered up embarrassing data about the staffers’ ranking of the organization’s efficiency and downplayed their concerns as “constructive criticisms.”

The memo states: “Interviewees were asked, among other things, to rate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Foundation’s operations.” However, the results on “efficiency” do not appear in the talking points.

The reason for the omission is pretty obvious. The actual review states that staffers rated the Foundation’s “efficiency” as 1 out of 10 at worst and 4 out of 10 at best.

When we asked interviewees to rate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Foundation’s operations on a scale of 1 to 10, many elected to give different ratings for effectiveness and efficiency. They rated the effectiveness in the 7-to-8 range based on the number of people receiving life-saving drugs through CHAI, the agreements negotiated by the Alliance with the beverage companies, and/or the commitments made through CGI. However, these same interviewees rated the current efficiency of the Foundation at a low 1-to-4 level.

The talking points instead reveal only the higher marks for “effectiveness.”

A.                Interviewees uniformly praised the effectiveness of the Foundation and its affiliates, noting the enormous amount they have accomplished over a ten-year period, including building the Presidential library in Little Rock, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs through CHAI, the agreements negotiated by the Alliance with the beverage companies, and the commitments made through CGI.

B.                 Interviewees also shared with Simpson, and Simpson shared with the Board, certain constructive criticisms.  These included:

·         the need for the Foundation to develop the infrastructure necessary to support a best-in-class organization;

·         the need for greater Board and management oversight;

·         the need for more strategic and budgetary planning; and,

·         the need for clearer policy guidance and enforcement to manage potential conflicts of interest.

In subsequent years, many of these same concerns continued to plague the Foundation. Doug Band, a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), complained in 2015 — well into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — that he had to sign a conflict of interest policy but Bill Clinton did not, “even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc.”

The memo also tells employees that the review recommended that management “adopt a clear gift acceptance policy and procedures to ensure that all donors are properly vetted.” However, a 2013 memo publicly available on the Foundation website suggests the organization had not yet taken any action.


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