After an uproar about the exorbitant college speaking fees paid to Hillary Clinton — $225,000 and up for each speech — she suddenly announced that all of these fees “have been donated to the Clinton Foundation.”
So in other words, she’s donated the over-the top $1.8 million in fees to her favorite charity — herself. Is there really much difference between a fee paid directly to Hillary and one to the Bill Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation? That’s like moving money from one hand to the other. It’s not like Hillary’s giving it away and losing control over it. Because, without a doubt, she and her husband control the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Foundation. Is there anyone at all there who would ever say no to them?
No, they’re calling the shots.
Hillary’s generosity to the Foundation is a little different than other gifts. Generally, when one makes a charitable contribution, it goes to an independent organization that spends it as it sees fit — within the guidelines of the institution’s goals. Sometimes, a gift is earmarked for a certain project of the recipient. But that doesn’t mean that the donor controls staff hiring, spending, and other expenses, such as travel and entertainment.
That’s not the case at the Clinton Foundation, which is now the epicenter of Hillary’s professional life and the launching pad for her likely presidential campaign. In addition, the Foundation is one giant spoke in the many wheels of the Clintons’ political and philanthropic fund-raising from overlapping donors. The Foundation is a highly useful perch for Hillary. She’s installed her top former staff people and campaign aides on the foundation payroll, working on issues and scheduling her public speeches, recently estimated at hauling in $5 million since she left the State Department.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Clintons have raised between $2-3 billion in the past two decades, including $1 billion from American corporations. The donations were to Bill and Hillary’s political campaigns, various political advocacy organizations they support, the Clinton Presidential Library, and, of course, almost a billion dollars in contributions to the Foundation.
The Foundation provides other useful perks: It gives them the largesse to fund elaborate travel and parties for donor/friends, including one event where they reportedly purchased a first class plane ticket for Natalie Portman and her dog. In 2012, the latest year available, the Foundation’s travel expenses were $11,569,213 — up about 10% from the $9,666,273 in 2011. From 2000 – 2011, the Foundation spent over $50 million on travel!
Bill Clinton’s travel alone was over a million dollars and accounted for more than 11% of the total.
And that didn’t include the free travel that Bill and Hillary use most of the time, frequently asking for a donor to the Foundation for the free use of corporate jets, like supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, who frequently lends one of his fleet as an in-kind charitable contribution.
The Foundation also maintains the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, which includes a luxurious penthouse apartment for the exclusive use of Bill Clinton and family. The apartment has rooms that are the exact replicas of the Oval Office, the State Dining Room, and the Oval Sitting Room. It’s where Bill frequently entertains — on the Foundation.
That’s not all. The Foundation sponsors elaborate conferences and glamorous dinners that allow donors to hobnob with celebrities and rub elbows with Bill and Hillary. Recently donors were invited to a week-end in London that included a musical and a special dinner with the Clintons. All of this create a nice list of rich donors for a presidential candidate.
When Bill and Chelsea went to Africa for a week long trip in both 2012 and 2013, their entourage included VIP donors to The Foundation and a planeload of friendly journalists who dutifully reported gushing stories about the amazing Clintons.
It’s a good way to develop a brand — and its free!
The Foundation also spent over $26 million for meetings and conferences in 2011 and 2012. Those, of course, are the perfect venue for Hillary to mingle with potential supporters and donors and showcase the policy positions and programs developed by the Foundation. And it gives the donors a chance to get chummy with a possible presidential candidate.
So it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Except for possible campaign opponents, who don’t have the same ability and opportunity to raise billions of tax free dollars and leverage it to advance their campaigns.
So, when you’re thinking about Hillary’s generosity, remember where she’s donating — to herself!
But back to the student speaking fees. Hillary, with her famous tin ear, actually claimed that the students at the University of Las Vegas who demanded that she return the $225,000 fee were not concerned about her fee!
“They’re not worried about my speaking or my household, they’re worried about their own. And that’s the kind of debate I think I’m furthering as I go around the country speaking,” she said of her critics.”
Hillary just doesn’t get it. The students definitely ARE worried about her speaking. Maybe she’ll figure that out that they demonstrate against her in October.
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