© 2024
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bill Clinton, Big Money To Leave Foundation If Hillary Clinton Is Elected

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at an event in Denver for the Clinton Global Initiative America, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, on June 10, 2015.
Brennan Linsley
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at an event in Denver for the Clinton Global Initiative America, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, on June 10, 2015.

Major changes would come to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected president this fall.

Bill Clinton would step down from the foundation board and it would stop accepting money from foreign and corporate sources, the former president told staff on Thursday. Information on the possible role of Chelsea Clinton in the foundation was not available.

The Clinton Foundation confirmed to NPR these details, which were originally reported by the Associated Press.

The Clinton Global Initiative will also be shut down next month. The hallmark of that is an annual gathering of international leaders, thinkers and philanthropists hosted by the Clinton Foundation. Its annual meeting is scheduled for September 19-21 in New York City.

The foundation, established in 1997, has been the focus of charitable work by the Clinton family since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001. It's also been the focus of their charitable giving. The most recent tax returns released by Bill and Hillary Clinton showed the couple donating $1 million to the foundation in 2015.

Some of the priorities the foundation lists on its website include: "improving global health, increasing opportunity for girls and women, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, or helping communities address the effects of climate change."

But there have been plenty of headaches brought on by the Clinton Foundation. It has taken money from governments whose policies are at odds with the U.S. More recently, questions about the relationship between the State Department under Hillary Clinton's leadership and the Clinton Foundation were resurfaced as emails revealed some efforts to make connections between donors or associates of the foundation and personnel or experts at the State Department.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus said in a statement on Wednesday, "If everything was above board while Hillary Clinton ran the State Department as the Clintons have said, then why change a thing?"

The statement from Preibus went on to criticize the existence of the foundation while Clinton is running for president: "But now that they have admitted there is a problem, the Clinton Foundation should immediately cease accepting foreign donations and return every penny ever taken from other countries, several of which have atrocious human rights records and ties to terrorism."

The Clinton campaign maintains that there was nothing improper about exchanges between longtime Clinton aides who were working at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Though this change in policies seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that the perceptions about the Clinton Foundation are a cloud hanging over her candidacy, which is beset by low ratings from the public on honesty.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Peter Overby has covered Washington power, money, and influence since a foresighted NPR editor created the beat in 1994.
Arnie Seipel
Arnie Seipel is the Deputy Washington Editor for NPR. He oversees daily news coverage of politics and the inner workings of the federal government. Prior to this role, he edited politics coverage for seven years, leading NPR's reporting on the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections. In between campaigns, Seipel edited coverage of Congress and the White House, and he coordinated coverage of major events including State of the Union addresses, Supreme Court confirmations and congressional hearings.