Hillary Clinton supporters were beyond giddy after her epic smackdown of Rep. Trey Gowdy and his band of Republican henchmen during the House Benghazi hearing last month. She was universally declared the winner of the eleven-hour inquisition.
After her stellar performance, Clinton saw her poll numbers rise and political pundits started questioning Bernie Sanders’ continued viability as a presidential candidate. Barring some act of god, they said, she will be the Democratic presidential nominee.
Well, I don’t know about an act of god but there is something in Hillary’s past that could derail her hopes of reaching the While House. It’s called the Clinton Foundation.
The $2 billon charitable organization set up by the Clintons in 2001 could turn out to be, as one political analyst described it, “The Mother of all Clinton Scandals.”
While the foundation has done some praiseworthy work around the world, its finances have come under renewed scrutiny in recent months amid reports of extensive donations by foreign governments to the foundation while the former First Lady was Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
Hillary opponents have long questioned the operation of what many have called a “criminal enterprise.” They have suggested it is just a slush fund for the Clinton clan. There have been allegations that the Clintons have siphoned off foundation money for personal and political use by utilizing creative accounting tactics.
But the allegations that the foundation received donations from foreign governments while Clinton was Secretary of State could be the most problematic. Because of admitted accounting “irregularities,” the foundation will soon be filing amended returns for at least the last two years. The new returns are sure to come under heavy scrutiny.
While Hillary has brushed off any question about the foundation’s activities and finances, she has not addressed the organization’s admission to Reuters earlier this year that it did not comply with an ethics agreement Clinton signed with the Obama administration in 2008 in order for her to become Secretary of State. That agreement required the names of every donor be published annually, with the State Department ethicists screening new funding from foreign governments. Some of the foundation’s charities did not do this or did so incompletely, citing “oversights”.
Stay tuned folks as this real, potentially crippling scandal unfolds. As Rachel Maddow is apt to say, “Watch this space!”
Photo | Tannen Maury/Bloomberg News