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April 30, 2015

NYT, Boston Globe Both Report That Different Structures of the Clinton Foundation Deliberately Hid Money

Ed Morrissey does a good job of summing up at Hot Air.

This New York Times article by, again, Mike McIntire and Jo Becker shreds the Clintons' claims that Canadian law forces them to hide their money and donor lists. Mollie Hemingway reported this yesterday in the Federalist -- a scoop, I'm pretty sure.

Today, the NYT follows up on Sean Davis' work and adds a little bit.

The Clintons' defense here is that they could not comply with their agreement to disclose donors to the State Department, because Canadian law prohibits such disclosures. Sean Davis called up some experts and found out that just wasn't true.

Here's what McIntire and Becker found.

Aides to former President Bill Clinton helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation, despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.

The nonprofit, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), operates in parallel to a Clinton Foundation project called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is expressly covered by an agreement Mrs. Clinton signed to make all donors public while she led the State Department. However, the foundation maintains that the Canadian partnership is not bound by that agreement and that under Canadian law contributors’ names cannot be made public.

The foundation cited that restriction last weekend in explaining why it did not disclose $2.35 million in donations from the chairman of Uranium One, the subject of an article in The New York Times last week....

"This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency," said Maura Pally, acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation, as she took new efforts to avoid transparency.

I may have altered the end of that sentence.

Instead, the foundation said that the partnership was created by the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra to allow Canadian donors to get a tax benefit for supporting his work with Mr. Clinton -- a benefit that came with the price of respecting Canada's privacy laws. On Wednesday, the partnership issued a statement citing a legal opinion that "charitable donors have an expectation and right of privacy."


However, interviews with tax lawyers and officials in Canada cast doubt on assertions that the partnership was necessary to confer a tax benefit; an examination shows that for many donors it was not needed, and in any event, since 2010, Canadians could have donated to the foundation directly and received the same tax break. Also, it is not at all clear that privacy laws prohibit the partnership from disclosing its donors, the tax lawyers and officials in Canada said.

The partnership, established in 2007, effectively shielded the identities of its donors -- and the amount they gave -- by allowing them to bundle their money together in the offshoot Canadian partnership before it was passed along to Clinton Foundation programs. The foundation, in turn, names only the partnership as the source of those funds.

...

The partnership might have been necessary to provide a tax benefit to early individual donors, but not since 2010. That year, the Clinton Foundation was specially designated by the Canadian government, allowing Canadians to write off donations given directly to it.

"It makes no tax difference," Mr. Blumberg said, "whether a donor gives the money to a Canadian charity or the Clinton Foundation."

....

How many more such entities exist, or might be created in the future, is also unclear. A search of charity registrations in Britain, for instance, found a William J. Clinton Foundation UK that has raised about $1.5 million for a climate change initiative. Foundation officials said those donations were made public.

...

Mr. Blumberg, the tax lawyer, said that while privacy laws would prohibit charities from misusing donor information for commercial purposes, they generally did not otherwise prevent disclosure of donors. But, he said, laws in the province of British Columbia -- where the Clinton Giustra partnership is set up --- are stricter. But even there, he said, a charity could arrange for disclosure of donors if it wanted to, something Mr. Giustra is now saying he will attempt to do.

Ed Morrissey makes a great point about this, which I think actually Becker and McIntire want to make, but don't, out of journalistic professionalism:

If the specific rules of British Columbia just happened to appear, on the surface, to be stricter about disclosing donor information, isn't it terribly convenient the Clintons and their eternal Mob Lawyer Bruce Lindsey incorporated there, as opposed to much-more-convenient Toronto or Quebec?

It sure looks like the Clintons went forum shopping to specifically find someplace where the tax laws could be misconstrued -- or pretended to be misconstrued, rather -- to shield their donors from disclosure.

More "mistakes were made" in Boston, it turns out.

An unprecedented ethics promise that played a pivotal role in helping Hillary Rodham Clinton win confirmation as secretary of state, soothing senators' concerns about conflicts of interests with Clinton family charities, was uniformly bypassed by the biggest of the philanthropies involved.


The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton's tenure from 2009 to 2013, Maura Daley, the organization's spokeswoman, acknowledged to the Globe this week. She said the charity deemed it unnecessary, except in one case that she described as an "oversight."

During that time, grants from foreign governments increased by tens of millions of dollars to the Boston-based organization.

Daley’s acknowledgement was the first by the charity of the broad scope of its apparent failures to fulfill the spirit of a crucial political pledge made by the Clinton family and their charities. The health initiative has previously acknowledged failing only to disclose the identity of its contributors, another requirement under the agreement.

You can read the rest at the Boston Globe. You get the idea.

So... what can you say?

I do note this move the Clintons always make. See if you've seen this before.

Step One: The Clintons claim they didn't break the law because their departure from regular order was justified by a technicality.

Step Two: You look into this alleged technicality that the Clintons claim saves them from being felons, and you find that it doesn't apply -- they're misinterpreting it (almost certainly deliberately).

Step Three: You tell them: Your lawbreaking is not excused by this claimed technicality, because you are deliberately misinterpreting the law to claim this technicality.

Step Four: Now they bat innocent eyes at you and ask: "Why are you focusing on mere technicalities when there are such important issues to be dealt with?!"

Then they turn to their partisan supporters in the public, jab their thumbs in your direction, and say "Ha, ha, look at these silly people who spend all day talking about technicalities in the law."

Correction: Ed Morrissey wrote the article, not Noah Rothman. Sorry. I've just been linking Rothman a lot lately.

Another Correction: It was Mollie Hemingway, not Sean Davis, who broke the story about the Clintons lying about Canadian laws about disclosure.



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posted by Ace at 10:46 AM

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