By Jack Greenberg
The Clinton Foundation’s rapid decline in donor cash has alarmed top ethics watchdogs who say it shows clear red flags of political corruption.
Financial disclosures show a precipitous decline in contributions to the Clinton Foundation in the years following former president Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton’s fall from the heights of their political power.
The Clinton Foundation received roughly $16.3 million in contributions in 2020, according to their newly released Form 990. This was a 93.6% decrease from the nearly $250 million the charitable organization raked in during 2009 after Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State.
“For years, the Clinton Foundation raised ethical concerns and blurred lines between the foundation, private entities, and the State Department,” said Scott Amey, General Counsel for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan, independent government corruption watchdog organization.
“Money was pouring in when Hillary Clinton was a senior official and a candidate for president. The fact that foundation donors received special access to the Secretary of State isn’t surprising, nor is the fall in foundation funding after her 2016 election loss. Many people thought people were supporting the former president, but it really looks like they were cozying up to who they thought was going to be the future president — a situation that can’t be repeated,” the POGO General Counsel told the Daily Caller.
“Now, with ethics concerns raised about Mnuchin and Kushner, as well as judges, it is vital that Congress put politics aside and pass an ethics reform package for all three branches of government. Congress must eliminate conflicts of interest, restrict special access, prevent trading on insider knowledge, and stop public servants who cash in for personal or private gain. Recent surveys show that corruption is a major public concern, but with the foxes guarding the henhouse, I’m unsure who will step forward to fix the problem,” said Amey.
“We’ve been seeing a decline in the cash flow to the Clinton Foundation since the 2016 presidential election,” Anna Massoglia told the Daily Caller. Massoglia is an Investigative Researcher at OpenSecrets, a non-profit transparency organization that tracks money in politics.
The Investigative Researcher said that when OpenSecrets spoke with the Clinton Foundation, they explained the strained revenue stream was “due to a lack of events due to an inability to have conferences” and “receiving less money from fundraising events, programs, and services.” Massoglia reasoned that “it would make sense for there to be a significant decrease in 2020 since there were even less in-person events around that time.”
“During the presidential election, of course, Clinton had said that they were going to step back from the foundation for the duration of the election, and if she came into office, that they would wind things down. However, because she was not elected, it was not expected that the foundation would get smaller for any other reason, at least externally,” added Massoglia.
In 2018, Massoglia and OpenSecrets were the first to obtain the Clinton Foundation’s annual 990 Form that showed a $38.4 million revenue stream. While slightly higher than the previous year, donations were still significantly lower than in years when Hillary or Bill Clinton were more influential in American politics. (RELATED: Former Clinton Adviser Is Helping Facebook Whistleblower Lobby Lawmakers)
In a letter accompanying the 2020 filing, Clinton Foundation CEO Kevin Thurm said 2020 “was a difficult year for philanthropy.” However, Massoglia pointed out that many other non-profits did not decline in 2020. In fact, Massoglia pointed out that “there are certainly non-profits in the left-leaning space who are aligned with either very liberal activists or politicians who did see growth last year.” She continued, “a number of left-leaning and liberal-leaning non-profits were positioning themselves within this non-profit space to push policies during the Biden administration. So you did see some non-profits on the left continue to grow pretty significantly in the lead up to the election, either due to fundraising around the election or anticipation of pushing certain policies.”
POGO recently conducted a survey among 2022 likely voters in the battleground states of Michigan and Ohio that showed more than 70% of participants were “very” or “extremely” concerned about corruption in the federal government. Across both states, 81% believe corruption is widespread throughout the federal government, and 90% think that federal government corruption costs the taxpayer a lot of money.