Former U.S. President Bill Clinton defended his family's philanthropic foundation's acceptance of donations from foreign governments Saturday, saying that the money had done a lot more good than harm.
Speaking to Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore at a Clinton Global Initiative University event in Miami, Clinton said that he disagreed with many of the donor countries policies, but that the foundation had made significant achievements.
“I think it is a good thing. For example, the UAE gave us money,” Clinton said. “Do we agree with everything they do? No. But they are helping us fight ISIS and they built a great university with NYU, open to people around the world. And they have helped us support the work that this foundation does,” he added, according to video of the event published by the Associated Press.
Clinton said that the donations would secure the long-term viability of the foundation's work. “The money that we raise for next couple years [will be] an endowment so all these programs will run forever even when I get to the point when I can’t raise the money every year,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation was the subject of recent controversy, after the Washington Post disclosed that it accepted millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, including at least one donation that broke the charity's ethics agreement with the White House.
The donations raised the question as to whether the donations were an attempt to secure influence with Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce a 2016 bid for the White House next month, and is viewed as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
"My theory about all of this is disclose everything and then let people make their judgments," Clinton said. His aides have been at pains to point out that news of the donations emerged only after the foundation published details on its website, the New York Times reported.
Hillary Clinton also appeared at the event, but did not address the donations issue, or the controversy over her use of a private email account while she was the U.S.' top diplomat.