The Clinton Foundation has shut down the Clinton Global Initiative in a move that political opponents have taken as confirmation that the organization is a slush fund.
The Clinton Global Initiative is a division of the Clinton Foundation that “convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” according to the group’s website. Accomplishments cited for 2016 included working with Hollywood screenwriters to include narratives about healthy families in primetime television shows, promoting women’s involvement in sports and business, and an inspiring speech Bill Clinton made to the students of Clinton Global Initiative University. Over 1200 students pledged to help their communities.
However, the Clinton Foundation has been on the receiving end of heavy criticism over financial and ethical matters. It has been accused of being a “pay to play” organization where foreign governments can buy into American politics, a “slush fund” for the Clintons to dip into as deemed necessary for personal and political gain, and of taking advantage of low-income donors by overcharging them.
The Clinton Foundation’s announcement that it is shutting down the Clinton Global Initiative so soon after Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the presidency has the organization’s most vocal critics convinced that the closure is due to the Clintons no longer being able to “sell access to political power.”
Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, told Breitbart News Daily in a radio interview how he interpreted the shutdown.
“The Clintons have essentially made it so obvious that there’s a connection between this so-called charitable activity, CGI, and their political fortunes. They didn’t even wait until the election was a distant memory to say, you know what, we’re going to wrap this up. They ended it immediately. I think it’s just further confirmation to what we always believed, which is that their charitable activities really were directly linked to their political power.”
He explained that the Clintons’ extensive political influence put them in a unique position to raise enormous sums of money for their foundation and for Hillary’s presidential run. He also praised Chelsea Clinton for being one of the only high-ranking people in the Clinton Foundation to call for audits.
But Chelsea Clinton was involved in a scandal with the Clinton Foundation when WikiLeaks emails revealed that funds from the foundation were used to pay for her wedding. The Clintons received more bad press when the Observer reported that the Hillary Clinton campaign was overcharging donors.
Defenders of the Clinton Foundation say that the timing of the shutdown is unrelated to Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the presidency. They point out that the recent announcement to lay off the remaining 22 employees of the Clinton Global Initiative and close the CGI for good is the final phase in a move that was announced last September. Bill Clinton urged supporters to carry on the legacy of the Clinton Global Initiative at its final conference last year.
Similar to how President-elect Donald Trump has faced scrutiny over his business interests, Bill and Hillary Clinton would have had to cut ties with the Clinton Foundation had she won the presidency.
Since Hillary Clinton lost the race for the presidency, several foreign governments stopped supplying the Clinton Foundation with donations. The Australian government pulled their donations and the government of Norway reduced their contributions by $15 million. The income Hillary Clinton received from speeches dropped from $3.6 million to $357,500.
Clinton supporters have pointed out that Trump’s accusations of “pay to play” wherein foreign governments pay for access to U.S. politicians hurt the foundation and Hillary’s presidential run, as did his insistence on appointing a special prosecutor to investigate her if he won the election. Whether the foundation pulling the plug on the Clinton Global Initiative is an underhanded admission of being involved in such a scheme is true, or if it was just in the cards regardless of the election’s outcome, is yet another issue the left and the right won’t agree on this year.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]