Clinton Foundation scandal cycle, Conflicts of interest and management dysfunction articles, Charity Navigator watch list ignites battle with Bill Hillary and Chelsea foundation

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Clinton Foundation scandal cycle, Conflicts of interest and management dysfunction articles, Charity Navigator watch list ignites battle with Bill Hillary and Chelsea foundation

 

From the Daily Intelligencer May 10, 2015.

“The Clinton Foundation’s Behind-the-Scenes Battle With a Charity Watchdog Group”

“Last Wednesday, Bill Clinton ratcheted up Clintonworld’s counter assault on Clinton Cash, the book by conservative author Peter Schweizer that ignited the latest media frenzy over the former First Couple’s $2 billion foundation. “There’s just no evidence,” Clinton defiantly told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during an interview at the Foundation’s confab in Morocco. “Even the guy that wrote the book apparently had to admit under questioning that we didn’t have a shred of evidence for this, we just sort of thought we would throw it out there and see if it flies, and it won’t fly.”

Clinton’s analysis is flawed in at least one regard. As my colleagueJonathan Chait recently wrote, the Clintons’ web of murky relationships and opaque finances exacts a political cost whether or not their critics ever find a there there. The Clintons, more than anyone, should know that negative press — true or not — can have potentially catastrophic consequences. Remember, it was David Brock’s 1993 American Spectatorarticle alleging that Arkansas state troopers arranged Bill’s trysts, which sparked Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit, which led to the Supreme Court case, which led to Monica Lewinsky lying under oath about the affair, which led Linda Tripp to turn the tapes over to Ken Starr, which led to impeachment.

The Clinton Foundation scandal cycle is already spinning off new complications. A case in point: After being the subject of a spate of negative newspaper accounts about potential conflicts of interest and management dysfunction this winter — long before Clinton Cash — the Clinton Foundation wound up on a “watch list” maintained by the Charity Navigator, the New Jersey–based nonprofit watchdog. The Navigator, dubbed the “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is a powerful and feared player in the nonprofit world. Founded in 2002, it ranks more than 8,000 charities and is known for its independence. For a while, the Clinton Foundation was happy to promote Charity Navigator’s work (back when they were awarded its highest ranking). In September 2014, in fact, the Navigator’s then-CEO, Ken Berger, was invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative. Of course that was before the Foundation was placed on a list with scandal-plagued charities like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Red Cross.

Since March, the Foundation has embarked on an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to get removed from the list. Clinton Foundation officials accuse the Navigator of unfairly targeting them, lacking credible evidence of wrongdoing, and blowing off numerous requests for a meeting to present their case. “They’re not only punishing us for being transparent but are not being transparent themselves,” Maura Pally, the Foundation’s acting CEO, told me by phone from Morocco last week. “Charity Navigator doesn’t disclose its donors, but we do and yet that means we’re suffering the consequences.”

Navigator executives counter that the Foundation has demanded they extend the Clintons special treatment. They also allege the Foundation attempted to strong-arm them by calling a Navigator board member. “They felt they were of such importance that we should deviate from our normal process. They were irritated by that,” says Berger.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/05/clinton-foundation-vs-a-charity-watchdog.html

 

 

 






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