The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation will continue to accept financial contributions from foreign governments despite Hillary Clinton’s quest for the presidency in 2016, the organization announced in a summary of its revised policy. Critics have questioned whether continued donations would allow foreign governments to influence policy if Clinton were elected president.
The new policy allows for donations from six countries that have aided the foundation’s climate change, health and poverty programs -- the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany, the Wall Street Journal reports. Other foreign nations will be permitted to attend Clinton Global initiative events as part of the foundation subsidiary’s efforts to combat international issues and to pay the requisite attendance fees, but will not be allowed to make large financial contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
“By implementing this new, even stronger and more transparent policy, the Clinton Foundation is reinforcing its commitment to accountability while protecting programs that are improving the lives of millions of people around the world,” Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian said in a statement.
The Clinton Foundation’s board reportedly decided on the policy changes to address concerns that foreign nations would attempt to gain influence through their contributions, but without compromising the organization’s programs. The organization’s officials will also refrain from participating in events outside the country’s borders. But questions about continued foreign donations are expected to be a recurrent issue during Clinton's bid for the presidency.
“The Clinton Foundation receiving foreign government funding as Hillary Clinton campaigns to be president should set off alarm bells,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told the Wall Street Journal.
The policy changes came just days after an International Business Times report revealed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed in 2011 to pressure the Colombian government to prevent labor violations carried out by members of its military against union organizers. The State Department under Clinton expressed support for Colombia’s progress on human rights issues after Pacific Rubiales, a Canadian petroleum company involved in the nation’s labor issues, funneled millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. The organization did not respond to requests to comment on the report.
The Clinton Foundation drew criticism in November 2014 when detractors questioned whether Hillary Clinton had used the nonprofit’s budget to pay for non-foundation political trips. Internal Revenue Service documents showed the organization’s travel budget in 2013 accounted for 10 percent of its total expenses. A Clinton spokesman denied the allegations.