Why the Clinton Foundation is a lot like a bag of Lay’s cappuccino flavored potato chips.
Depending on where you get your news from, the Clinton Foundation is either a charitable organization that does legitimate good in the world or an elaborate front for the Clinton’s to grab more political power while masquerading as a charity! In reality, the truth of the Clinton Foundation is much more complicated. In many ways the Clinton Foundation is like Lay’s ill-conceived Cappuccino flavored potato chips. Just here us out. Here’s a 10-Point Expert to clear all this up.
Point 1: The beginnings of the Clinton Foundation dates back to 1997 where then President Bill Clinton had created a basic organization as a fundraising arm for charitable causes. The Clinton Foundation itself wasn’t officially established till 2001, when Bill Clinton left office.
Point 2: From its humble beginnings the Clinton Foundation grew by bringing together various entities like corporations, powerful governmental organizations, and celebrities in the name of various charitable causes. While this has extended the foundation’s charitable outreach, but it also opened themselves up to criticism.
Point 3: The Clinton Foundation is classified as a nonprofit corporation under the US Tax Code. Similar charitable groups that are also under the same classification include Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, and the Human Rights Watch. Even though these groups are incorporated, the sole purpose of their existence isn’t to generate profits for their owners and shareholders.
Point 4: In 2016, the Clinton Foundation raised around $2 billion for various charitable causes, that range from large scale programs like the Archer Farm Project in Rwanda which integrates independent farms within the country to create a stable economy that has been ravaged by civil wars for over a decade to smaller ones like giving shoes to Haitian children by working with shoe companies like TOMS. In many cases the Clinton Foundation connects wealthy benefactors (private organizations, celebrities, ect.) with charitable causes and acts as the go-between.
Point 5: Because grants aren’t the major focus of the Clinton Foundation, many have questioned its organizational structure due to its unusual move of implementing their own humanitarian efforts. For that reason many charity watchdog groups, like Charity Navigator, have a hard time assessing the Clinton Foundation due to its atypical business model. For that reason, researching the validity of claims that are brought against the organization is near impossible and at times even baseless (ie like the following clip).
Point 6: The Clinton Foundation has been a target for scrutiny over the past couple of years. One of the biggest criticisms against the organization comes in their lack of transparency. Due to the foundation’s unusual organizational structure and their high profile donor list, the lack of transparency has been a major issue among some watch dog groups.
Point 7: One of the more recent complaints of the Clinton Foundation has had in the past few weeks revolves around the list of foreign donors and companies that have contributed to the foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
Point 8: While many believe foreign donors and companies giving to the Clinton Foundation is a non-issue, others have found it very troubling. The crux of the argument that critics make regarding foreign donors revolves around the idea of money and access in politics. Many like Bob Biersack (a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics), argued that individuals who donated to the foundation created an access point to Clinton (ie getting Clinton’s attention) that many individuals or organizations wouldn’t of otherwise had. Similar to how lobbyist money buys access to politicians (and not votes), donors to the Clinton Foundation were potentially able to structure issues on international policy while her time as Secretary of State.
Point 9: Now it’s important to realize that expanding your political network through a charitable foundation is COMPLETELY LEGAL and the norm among many charitable foundations. For example, charities like America’s Promise – former Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell’s charitable organization – is similarly run like the Clinton Foundation. Organizational structures like America’s Promise and the Clinton Foundation give those charities a wider reach in both charitable opportunities and the donor pools in which they can potentially access. At the same time however, charitable organizations that indirectly expand the political networks for their organizational leaders leaves legitimate criticisms about the charity’s main purpose.
Point 10: Like we said earlier, the Clinton Foundation is a lot like Lay’s cappuccino flavored potato chips. Sure, it passes for a decent snack, however the cappuccino flavor is unnecessary at best and downright disgusting at worst. That’s similar to how the Clinton Foundation is at times. At its core, the Clinton Foundation is an excellent charitable organization that does real work for multiple causes around the globe. At the same time however, it’s hard to look at the Clinton Foundation and not see how the Clintons have used the foundation to expand their political rolodex. It’s an unwanted element that is an undeniable part of the Clinton Foundation. Like we said, it’s the Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips of charitable foundations.
(Photo Credits: Google Images)