Longtime Clinton ally Donna Shalala will take over as CEO of the Clinton Foundation, former President Bill Clinton told the Associated Press Friday. The change of leadership comes as the charity faces ongoing scrutiny over its fundraising practices, risking political turmoil for Hillary Clinton’s imminent 2016 presidential campaign roll-out.
"I don't know in my long life that I ever worked with anybody who had quite the combination of policy knowledge and concern, political skills, a personal touch with people, a sense of innate fairness," the former president said of Shalala, according to AP. "She's a remarkable person."
Reports have surfaced that Hillary Clinton used a personal email address while serving as secretary of state and that the foundation resumed accepting donations from foreign governments after she left the State Department in 2013. Clinton said Thursday she will release her emails to the public, after a House committee investigating the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, issued a subpoena requesting the State Department probe Clinton’s use of a private email address for official matters.
The philanthropy -- which is now officially called the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation -- has defended its decision to lift a self-imposed ban on collecting contributions from foreign governments, saying it would review its fundraising policies if Clinton pursued a second run for the White House, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Shalala, 74, will step down as president of the University of Miami and move to New York to become chief executive officer of the foundation later this year. She had announced in September that she would leave her position at the university in Florida. Shalala led two fundraising campaigns during her 14-year tenure that will reportedly rake in $3 billion to the school. She served for eight years as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Bill Clinton administration.
The Clinton Foundation is a $2 billion global philanthropic enterprise that has provided a platform for the Clintons in disease prevention, poverty and the empowerment of women. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported the organization had accepted funds in 2014 from donors including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia and Germany. In most cases, the organization did not accept money from foreign governments while Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to early 2013.
The foundation had also accepted contributions from companies that were simultaneously lobbying the U.S. government during Clinton’s time as secretary of state, according to Politico.