Bill Clinton Defends Clinton Foundation Finances

Bill Clinton says the Clinton Foundation is doing just fine, despite media reports to the contrary.

In an open letter posted on the foundation website, the former president among other things extolled the charitable accomplishments of the organization around the world and claimed that news reports that it was in the red by $40 million in 2007 and 2008 and $8 million in 2012 were incorrect.

The William J. Clinton Foundation, which has recently been renamed the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, also reportedly spent $50 million on travel expenses in the past decade. The charity is in the process of reorganizing to help it run more efficiently. The foundation brought in $214 million last year alone.

A New York Times report outlined management and financial issues at the foundation and also suggested that there may be conflicts of interest and influence peddling given its connection to many wealthy individual and corporate donors:

“For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in… And efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr. Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs. Clinton’s political future, according to interviews with more than two dozen former and current foundation employees, donors and advisers to the family.”

The Clintons are currently seeking to raise a $250 million endowment for the foundation, the Times notes, which in the past has “also found itself competing against Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign for donors amid a recession.”

As the Daily Mail observes, “In addition to being concerned about making the most of their fundraising money, there is also the very serious possibility that Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016 and if she does, her involvement in the charity will be carefully scrutinized.”