HART: The Foundation Head

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

For years, the foregone conclusion within the chattering political class has been that Hillary Clinton will be crowned the Democrat nominee for president in 2016.

But in yet another ethical misstep, the Clinton political machine is having to answer for taking $1.6 billion into its foundation. Much  came from foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as from a long list of corporations and politically motivated individuals seeking favor from America’s most powerful and pliable political family. Of the seven top donors of $25 million or more, four were foreign.

In essence, the Clinton foundation has become a Super PAC to advance her brand and political ambitions and to finance the couple’s lifestyle. It is a semi-legal way to shake down folks for money. One L.A. writer has noted that only a fraction of the funds collected have gone to true charities.

The foundation has spent over $50 million in “travel” for the Clintons — over $12 million in 2011 alone. Taxpayers pay for their Secret Service protection, so you can imagine what our portion costs. As only Democrats can do with a straight face, the Clintons burn massive amounts of fuel in big private jets to go and lecture us on carbon emissions. And who approved Bill’s big-bucks speeches? Hillary’s State Department. Hmm. I guess the way they keep the spark in their relationship as they age is trying new and exciting things.

Most foundations are based on the altruism of self-made entrepreneurs and are designed to give back efficiently. If Hillary gave lots of money to a cause close to her heart, like buying pantsuits for starving third-world girls, we would understand.

Every foundation’s goals align with the founder. The Tiger Woods Foundation has done remarkable work for a cause close to his heart: teaching young boys how to delete their texts on their cell phones so Mommy doesn’t see them. Maybe Bill and Tiger could work together to raise money for loose women they have adversely  affected. Donations could go to their favorite charity (not a stripper named Charity). I’d suggest that Tiger and Slick Willie name their joint philanthropic effort “The Boys Will Be Boys Club.”

The Clinton foundation is nothing more than a political operation disguised as charity. It is why Obama had his IRS, via Lois Lerner, target opposition Tea Party groups. They realize the power of  political operations masquerading as foundations. You can do what you want with the money you collect, donors get a tax deduction, you are not subject to onerous election laws, and you get to point to your “great work” while touting yourself as a selfless philanthropist.

Republican presidential contenders like Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and Scott Walker get none of these benefits, creating a huge edge for their opponents. Imagine the advantage of $1.6 billion dollars flowing unfettered through your grifting hands if you are, essentially, a politician.

Foundations like the Clintons’ are just an extension of what power-dependent Democrats are good at: semi-extorting others for money under the pretense of doing some good. But both parties know it is for political cover, access, and to advance personal ambition.

Foundations can enhance a reputation. You can see why the Hilton Family Foundation gave a grant to Paris Hilton to change her name to “Days Inn.”

Hillary was awarded the Helen Keller Humanitarian Award for her work, presumably for turning a blind eye to both Benghazi and to Bill’s shenanigans.

She does well managing Obama’s missteps with Israel while advancing her own agenda. In every meeting with Israelis leaders, she reminded them that three of Bill’s last four girlfriends were Jewish.

Democrats will find it hard to play the “Republican War on Women” ruse, given Bill Clinton’s history with blaming the women who accused him of sexual advances. And a Hillary who paid her female staff 38 percent less than the male staffers, and who gladly takes money from Arab governments without ever confronting them on the treatment of women in their countries, has no credibility on the issue. In many Arab countries, the American movie Thelma and Louise is only 15 minutes long because all the scenes showing women driving must be edited out.

The Clinton foundation, like French, Italian and Clinton marriages, works better for them if you don’t ask too many questions.  

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at or visit