By Rick Smith
The Republican Party leadership has become obsessed with inventing Democratic scandals by ignoring or twisting the facts. Reality is based on provable facts, which Republicans seem to abhor when it inconveniently conflicts with their beliefs. Their latest tall tale is to fabricate numerous scandals out of one of the most effective and respected global charities in the world, the Clinton Foundation.
The established facts rate the Clinton Foundation higher than the average of other similar charities. CharityWatch, one of the most respected organizations that rate charities gave the Clinton Foundation an “A” rating. That grade in part is based on the amount of total dollars that contribute to the mission of the charity. The Clinton Foundation was evaluated and it was determined that 89% of the funds raised goes to charitable works. The average for similar charities is 75% so the Clinton Foundation significantly exceeds the average. As an example CharityWatch rates the Red Cross with an “A-“. Factcheck.org confirmed that 89% of Clinton Foundation donations benefit the recipients. By using only 11% of donations for overhead puts the Clinton Foundation near the top in efficiency of their charitable operations.
However, various Republican spokesmen refuse to consider these facts and continue to mislead about the percentage the Clinton Foundation actually spends on charitable works. FOX Business News, Carly Fiorina, Rush Limbaugh, Reince Priebus and many others continue to spin this invented garbage. Priebus speaking for the Republican National Committee (RNC) last week claimed that 80% of Clinton donations go to overhead. Politifact looked at his claims and confirmed that Priebus is wrong and guilty of misleading the public. Once again the facts don’t seem to have any correlation to the Republican Party’s accusations and exaggerations.
One of the other unfounded accusations is that the Clintons have gotten rich from the Clinton Foundation. That is patently false. Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary Clinton have ever taken a salary from the Foundation. Bill Clinton’s goal in building the Foundation has always been to raise money for charitable works. Republicans continue to claim Hillary Clinton has enriched herself by donations made to the Foundation. The RNC attack dog Priebus has accused Hillary Clinton of personally getting donations from foreign governments. Politifact examined Priebus claim and concluded that the donations went to the Clinton Foundation, not Hillary Clinton.
It’s doubtful Republicans will quit making these bogus claims since facts seem to be simply an annoyance to the Trump narrative. However, Democrats have a responsibility to correct the record for low-information voters that aren’t following the fact checkers.
Both Clintons have been paid for speech-making separate from the Foundation. It’s important to note most past presidents are in demand and are paid to give speeches. It’s estimated former President George W. Bush has made between $20-30 million from paid speeches since leaving office. Ronald Reagan came under scrutiny when he was paid $2 million for just 2 speeches in Japan after leaving office.
Lastly and most importantly, the Republicans have attacked Hillary Clinton by implying that donors to the Clinton Foundation received something in return from her for making those contributions. Their claim is that donations to the Clinton Foundation were driven by some sinister motivation and those contributors got something in return or influenced United States foreign policy. These are serious charges, but they have no basis in fact. Numerous media outlets have investigated these claims and found no evidence that would support these unsubstantiated accusations.
Trump continues to repeat this bizarre claim that “the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history.” His claim is especially farcical since Trump donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Politifact confirmed that Trump has given between $100,000 to $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Ivanka Trump and her father-in-law have contributed as well. One must ask, if Trump and his family think the Clinton Foundation is so corrupt, why did they contribute?
The most important discussion should be devoted to the incredible work the Clinton Foundation has accomplished rather than trying to smear them with unsubstantiated accusations.
Since 2002 the Clinton Health Initiative has worked to lower the cost of HIV/AIDs drugs to numerous African nations. It’s estimated 9 million people have benefited from lower-cost, life-saving HIV/AIDs drugs. Would Republicans prefer the Clintons raise money to build luxury golf courses as Trump has done?
One of the major successes of the Clinton Foundation was a joint effort with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve health care for women and girls around the globe. Their combined efforts focused on reducing mortality rates and malnutrition in developing countries. Overall the Clinton Foundation is credited with improving the health of over 25 million people in the United States by facilitating $100 million in strategic investments. Their investments have improved the lives of more than 430 million people globally through more than 2,800 commitments made by Clinton Global Initiative members.
These are a few of the phenomenal achievements of the Clinton Foundation that deserve our whole-hearted gratitude. The Clinton Foundation is a model for success that should be emulated worldwide, not scandalized with falsehoods.