When I first started writing this series of articles about the Clinton Foundation, I noticed an incoming link that turned out to be a message board for people associated with Notre Dame University. One commenter said confidently everything I had written was wrong because I “knew nothing about international aid charities.” The commenter said I was unqualified to write about the Clinton Foundation and “didn’t understand the organization.” He stated I was an unsophisticated person who had only worked at a local charity.
That was because in that article, I had written about how I’d held a homeless man’s head in my lap to keep him from harming himself while medical professionals refused to help him due to fear of getting AIDS. That event had occurred when I was about 27 years old and it was on my mind because I had read that at the same age some years earlier, Hillary Clinton had been aggressively defending the accused rapist of a 12 year old girl in Arkansas. That is something I would never have done.
In 2011, I left my position as a nonprofit development officer in Los Angeles as to help minority and women-owned businesses get off the ground or grow. I had come to believe the best way to help others was to help them achieve what they wanted for themselves and their families. Since that time I have worked with more than 180 businesses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with an 80% success rate. The total funds obtained by those businesses equals about one years’ worth of budget for the Clinton Foundation. I have a board officer level of understanding of nonprofit finance law in the U.S. and a pretty good understanding of that law in Canada as well.
The Notre Dame commenter is wrong. I am not only qualified to assess the Clinton Foundation, I am also in a position that enables me to do so without fear of harming people in need. Any nonprofit professional in the U.S. can look at the Foundation’s own statements, tax filings and financial reports and see there is something wrong. No one who works for a nonprofit right now should do so because of the Clinton penchant for revenge and clear signs there are problems in tax and law enforcement that could lead to harm of their organization or clients. Ethically, they ought not comment because they will put their organizations or those they are charged to serve at-risk.
Since I don’t work in the nonprofit field any longer and know I will never be able to return to it, I am free to write these articles. There are only two things I can identify at which the Clinton Foundation excels: putting cash in the bank and spending it.
This article’s header image depicts Los Angeles’ Skid Row because in 2010, I was assigned to give the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Homelessness a tour of that district.
On Skid Row, the homeless people live in three rows — nearest the buildings are the well-established ones with tents. Then come the ones with sleeping bags or mobile wheelchairs or maybe one shopping cart. Then come those with nothing at all. They lie in the street.
One day while driving through (not with the UN people) a young man of about 20 ran in front of my car. His face was confused, eyes full of fear. I recognized he had Down Syndrome. I rolled down my window to ask him to get in my car and I’d take him for help, but terrified, he ran into the park among all the needle addicts. I never saw him again.
The Rapporteur, stunned into near silence after seeing the conditions on Skid Row and in areas of South Los Angeles, said, “I have been all over the world and these conditions are the worst I have ever seen.”
I used to occasionally listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio on the way to work and he often referred to “American Exceptionalism.” Outrage ensued when Michelle Obama said that she “felt proud of her country for the first time” when her husband was elected as the statement meant to Limbaugh that she was “not proud” of anything else in the U.S.
Now I live in one of the wealthiest areas in South Orange County in Southern California. There are two homeless men who stay most hours of the day near our local supermarket and Starbucks. One is in his 40s, clearly mentally-ill. The other looks to be about 75 or 80. He is clean and tidy. His possessions are packed into duffle bags. He has a cell phone and uses it frequently.
I’ve never seen homeless here before. The people who beg on the street corners here are now in their 20s and 30s.
What I have to say to people who blindly think that think the Clinton Foundation “does a great job” and “deserves everyone’s support” is that here is the reality: A dump truck could deliver 5,000 dead Syrian children to your doorstep and you’d blame Putin and call ServicePro to clean up the mess so you could go get your organic latte.
That’s who you are and yes — it’s exceptional. You can take that straight from the mouth of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Homelessness. She was a wealthy Brazilian.
The Clinton Foundation isn’t a charitable organization. Charles Ortel calls it the “biggest charity fraud ever attempted.”Dorian Gray: Looking good
I believe it is a very accurate mirror of the moral, ethical and cultural state of the people who are in power in our nation. Not America. There are more than 318 million people in this country and the overwhelming majority are decent, good people. I mean those in power and I don’t care what political party they state they are a part of. The Clinton Foundation is our Dorian Gray and the corruption is plain on the face of it.
The Clinton Foundation touts its programs in Haiti, particularly mentioning the Haiti Coffee Academy. According to the Foundation, they purchased the property in Haiti in 2012 for $350,000. Gifts totaling this amount from the Leslois Shaw Foundation and Todd Carmichael are in the Clinton Foundation donor database from 2011. The “Academy” functions as a coffee farm for single-source coffee from Haiti that is sold by reality TV star Carmichael’s company La Colombe Torrefaction. This isn’t months of investigative journalism: it’s reading what they’ve written themselves in their own blog posts and advertisements. The Foundation, for whatever reason, whether personal connections, bribes or love of this guy’s coffee or show, bought the property so Carmichael could use it. It’s very difficult for non-Haitian private companies to buy and use land for their business there: easy for Clinton “Foundation.”
There have been hundreds of thousands of words, perhaps millions, written about the lack of performance of the Clinton Foundation in Haiti — and evidence of the ugly picture is in the fact that the best “program” the Foundation can come up with to feature after the hundreds of $millions were given after the Haiti earthquake is what I just documented — acting as a pass-through for funds to buy land for a boutique coffee company to single-source exotic coffee from one of the poorest countries on earth. Coffee that he sells using celebrity endorsements on his reality TV show on the Travel Channel.
Todd Carmichael: American Exceptionalist.
Dady Chery has been documenting the $multi-billion exploitation of Haiti on her website and through books. Wherever the Clintons go, hundreds of Haitians protest. They want to know where all the money went, because they have seen no benefits.
As a side note, my organization was contacted regarding building actual housing in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. We had only a few meetings before being told “don’t bother, the Clinton Foundation will be leading the efforts.” This effort ended up being about 20 moldy, substandard trailers laced with formaldehyde, provided by the same company that also constructed substandard, poisonous emergency housing after Hurricane Katrina. You will read articles to this day in major publications that blame Haitians. The company that did this to our country in New Orleans, and to Haiti, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffett.
A recent Politifact article purports to “analyze” the Clinton Foundation tax returns, financial statements and website to “prove” that Republican claims that the Foundation spends 80% of its revenue on “overhead” are false.
The Republican claims are very likely “false” in that the Foundation has no clear mission and doesn’t really do anything that’s ordinarily regarded as charitable (and doesn’t do much at all that can be matched to the claims on their website and definitely not to the television pundit claims and campaign spokespeople —the most recent being “If the Foundation is closed down we won’t find a cure for AIDS”). But they’re not false the way Politifact means. “Overhead” is only a term with meaning if there are some type of charitable efforts going on. I’m really not seeing that anywhere I look to analyze the Clinton Foundation.
So Politifact repeats the Clinton Foundation website claim it has helped over 56,000 farmers in Malawi (a prominent feature on the Clinton Foundation website).
That’s flat out impossible and the poor guy they hired to try to make something of their scammy efforts there is already working somewhere else. The farm that was supposedly “helping” over 56,000 “smallholder” farmers can barely grow peanuts, is a for-profit corporation, and has been seeking FDi since 2013. If you don’t know what FDi is, then maybe you shouldn’t write message board posts talking about how stupid I am or Politifact articles saying that the Clinton Foundation does so much charitable good in Malawi.
This is the exact same circumstance and MO as the “Coffee Academy” in Haiti. It’s a for-profit business earning profit or losing money for someone foreign to its country, nothing to do with the local people and providing no charitable assistance whatsoever.
Politifact asserted that the Clinton Foundation is “doing the same thing” through a training school for youth in Cartagena, Colombia. Actually, I’m going to give our friends at Politifact “4 Pinocchios” for that, since the Colombia “benefits” from the Clinton Foundation are likely much less than those received by residents of Malawi or Haiti.
Colombia is a center for action with Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra and their Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership. American Exceptionalists likely think of Colombia as a poor, backward South American country that was the heart of massive drug trafficking in prior decades.
I covered the Accesso Training Center in Cartagena in my first article about the Clinton Foundation.
Pictures do tell a thousand words, because Mexican ultra-billionaire Carlos Slim is involved along with Clinton and Canadian mining mogul and Lionsgate film founder Frank Giustra. The business that actually runs the center is called “Gente Estragetica” (People Strategies). It is a temporary employment agency that’s been in business since November, 1992. They state they have employment agencies in 60 Colombian cities and have about 9,000 employees. I speak and read Spanish, which enabled me to determine that there is nothing remotely “charitable” about the Accesso training center — it’s a for-profit business that trains people to work primarily in hotel and service industries. I also determined that their claims of how many “youth” will be trained (20,000+) were unrealistic at best — more likely, deliberately deceptive.
The one aspect of the Clinton Foundation I have not researched in-depth is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Australian journalist Michael Smith has researched the results obtained from more than $80 million AUD donated by his country for AIDS relief efforts in their region, particularly Papua New Guinea, a country that has been highly impacted by AIDS. I am linking to his Twitter here: as of this writing his website is down [note: and back up — article link below].
Michael discovered an identical MO to what I had already determined was the case with every Clinton Foundation program I audited and analyzed.
Publically-stated outcomes and results were grossly divergent from possible outcomes or results as compared to other organizations.
Offices in locations stated to be served were either non-existent or makeshift.
For-profit businesses turned out to be the ones “doing” the work claimed to be of charitable or human benefit.
Only one employee was given “responsibility” for large territories, or there was no employee at all.
In Asia, only one employee of the Clinton Foundation was given responsibility to “save lives,” including children with AIDS.
This woman. As her LinkedIn profile notes, she was also the Caterpillar Distributor for Vietnam at the same time she was responsible to “save millions of lives” of children suffering from AIDS in Asia and the South Pacific.
I was responsible for an organization serving very poor working families and children in my hometown of Redlands, California during the early to mid-90s when many military bases were shut down. That had been during the Clinton Administration. They called it the “Peace Dividend.”
After the closure of the former Norton AFB in San Bernardino, CA, some neighborhoods went so far downhill that one had involvement of Colombian and Cambodian (yes I know — two very different parts of the world) drug gangs. One day we learned an entire family of Vietnamese immigrants that lived across from a school we served had been slaughtered in their home by a Cambodian gang, using the technique of “Colombian neckties” pioneered by the South American gangsters. A few months after that I was called out along with an emergency response team to visit some abandoned apartments near what is now the thriving San Manuel Indian Reservation (thanks to their casino).
That was where I saw the little girl playing with snails inside her bedroom in an apartment where all the windows had been busted out and the elements had caused mud and grass to grow inside. You really haven’t lived until you’ve seen what a bathroom with no running water looks like, or a crib resting in mud and weeds inside what’s called a “house.” In Southern California.
But you know I’m not an expert in American Exceptionalism like Rush Limbaugh, Politifact or Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon.
So, absolutely the Clinton Foundation has the same MO here in Southern California. It’s where I started.
They had one meeting one day in 2012, and got a bunch of local people to attend to “improve the health” in the Coachella Valley here in Southern California.
They just say they do things there because it justifies their paying for Bill Clinton to golf at what they used to call the Bob Hope (now “Career Builder”) Golf Classic. They’ve got one Ruby Shang type employee (or maybe even “volunteer” — who knows?). They are too cheap to even pay for an office. They hold their gala $20,000+ entry fee CGI meetings there, and they take time out of their busy schedules to do one-day “Days of Action” at places that don’t need it.
I really do think this is exceptional. I’ve never heard of anything quite like it before. It makes the 1980s United Way scandal look like nothing. I started out my career working for the United Way and after meeting jailed, disgraced former United Way of America founder William Aramony and being forced to buy his book by way of keeping my job, I knew there was “something wrong” so I left to do what I considered “real charitable work” actually helping people.
The United Way did survive that scandal, which merely consisted of Aramony mis-using a couple of $million to fund his sexual affairs with underage girls, pay for a yacht on the Potomac, etc.
Nothing compared to the Clinton Foundation. Every large corporation that donated to the Clinton Global initiative and attended those meetings is complicit.
McDonalds knows damn well that their “Commitment to Action” so highly featured on the Clinton Foundation and Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s websites and annual report is meaningless — they know they could have easily done better on their own and likely will in response to their customers’ needs and the desire to stay in business and continue as a huge multinational corporation. Monsanto knows that their “commitment” to have a “coalition” to “help honey bees” is meaningless PR material. Nearly everyone involved in the huge Clinton Global Initiative meetings knows there’s not a whole lot of benefit there, and the international AIDS community that actually does work knows that the Clinton Foundation’s “negotiations” are problematic at-best and that no treatment of any type has ever been provided by that organization. These companies should discuss the cost that they have paid by being involved with the Clinton Foundation and the long-term ROI for their involvement and investment. They know what type of “businessman” Frank Giustra and Bill Clinton’s other investment partners are.
There was a charitable expert quoted in the Politifact article who stated that Republican critics of the Clinton Foundation didn’t understand what a “public charity” was. Well, I’ll tell ya what, Mr. Expert. I’m pretty sure that U.S. incorporated public charities aren’t supposed to directly invest in foreign hedge funds like Fondo Acceso in Colombia.
This article links to all the others in the series.
If you are shocked by this article and the others, read IRS Publication 4221 PC, rules for public charities. By the time you get to page three you will notice the issues at hand. The violations are gross, on the face of it, and inexcusable.
And finally, if someone tells you the Clinton Foundation tax returns tell you how much good work they do, say “Yes, that’s true” and if they say “CharityWatch gave them an A rating!” (now saying “one of the great humanitarian charities of our generation”) go here.
Amy Sterling Casil is the author of 30 nonfiction books, 3 novels, 3 short fiction & poetry collections, hundreds of articles, and also is a former high-level nonprofit fundraiser and executive, and a business planner and developer, primarily for women and non-traditional owners. You can buy her most recent book (sci fi short stories all about women) via Amazon or thelargest, oldest author publishing cooperative, of which she is a co-founder.