The Clinton Foundation
September 16, 2016 3 Comments
Dylan Matthews takes a good hard look and discovers that, although it is far from perfect, the Clinton Foundation has done a hell of a lot of good in the world. The Trump Foundation, um, well. Great summary at the end:
This debate has become representative of how the Clinton Foundation is covered more broadly. The value of the organization is almost entirely divorced from actual charitable programming. Stories about the foundation don’t mention what the money that allegedly bought this access was spent on. They don’t distinguish between giving to the Clintons, personally, and giving to their charitable organization.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s opponent runs a foundation that is very clearly a scam, which used tax-exempt funds to purchase an autographed Tim Tebow helmet and a giant portrait of Donald Trump.
The media has botched this story. The amount of ink spilled on as-yet-unsubstantiated insinuations that the Clintons sold access through their foundation, as opposed to the foundation’s actual lifesaving work in public health, is ludicrous.
There is little to no evidence that anyone received meaningful favors from the Clintons in exchange for donating to the foundation. There is definitely no evidence that Hillary Clinton altered her policies as secretary of state in reaction to donations. There’s no evidence that the Clintons or their foundation engaged in some of the more egregious activities of Trump’s foundation, [emphases mine] like donating to a state attorney general to deter her from an investigation into Trump’s activities, or giving to a nonprofit to fund a lawsuit against another state AG who did opt to investigate, or even paying off the legal bills of his for-profit businesses.
But there is considerable evidence that the Clinton Foundation has saved millions of lives. And there’s evidence that Bill Clinton’s work with the group would make him more useful as first spouse. Presidents rely heavily on special envoys tasked with making deals to resolve prisoner disputes, facilitate peace processes, and the like. Clinton’s time with the foundation exhibited the exact set of skills necessary for a role like that. His presence could greatly expand the diplomatic bandwidth of his wife’s administration.
The fact that Hillary Clinton’s association with a group, and a husband, with that track record has become a liability rather than an asset is a deep indictment of how skewed the press’s priorities in covering this election have become.