The Clintons: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Lanny Davis Former Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton
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Last week, The Washington Post devoted 1,676 words to a story about donations to the Clinton Foundation — i.e., “a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests.” Yet as far as I could tell, there was not a single word reporting on any of the good works or charitable causes of the foundation.

The very next day, The Wall Street Journal devoted 2,130 words to describe Hillary Clinton’s efforts as Secretary of State, when meeting with some foreign governments, to promote purchases from American companies, with the effect of helping to create and protect millions of American jobs.

This is supposed to be a bad story for Clinton and for America?

The Journal also reported that many of the companies that Clinton promoted during her travels contributed substantial funds to support the charitable good works and causes of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Yet out of those 2,130 words, I could count only about 100 words — less than 5 percent — that made any reference to the actual charitable causes done by the foundation.

The underlying innuendo in both articles is that many of the donors are likely supporters of Clinton if she runs for president, and that the donations to the Clinton Foundation could influence policy if and when Clinton is elected president, or at least that the donors were motivated by that possibility.

Were any facts offered in the articles showing a “quo” in return for the “quid?” Nope. There was lots of suggestive language, but no facts.

Here are two indisputable facts about the Clinton Foundation:

Fact one: The Clinton Foundation is 100 percent transparent regarding all donors and on financial records, including the relatively small percentage of donor money spent on overhead as opposed to spending on charitable projects. (Compare that to Karl Rove’s Super PAC, which refuses to disclose all donors – yet this week produced an ad critical of Hillary Clinton and the Foundation. Talk about Chutzpah!)

Fact two: This transparency proves, beyond doubt, that the Clinton Foundation is a charity that spends substantial funds collected from donors producing measureable results, helping tens of millions of people in America and around the globe.

Here are just a few factual examples (see these and more at www.clintonfoundation.org)

Because of the Clinton Foundation’s work:

  • 26,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity;
  • 28,000 farmers in Malawi have improved their crops and increased their incomes;
  • 33,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced annually across the U.S.;
  • 5,400 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia;
  • 8.2 million people have benefited from negotiated prices for lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications;
  • The No Ceilings project, led by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, has convened global partners to evaluate progress for women and girls around the world and promote full participation in the global community; and
  • Members of the Clinton Global Initiative community have made more than 3,100 Commitments to Action, improving more than 430 million lives around the world.

Through the Clinton Global Initiative:

  • Procter & Gamble has worked with nonprofit groups to provide 7.5 billion liters of clean water at no cost to those who need it most in more than 70 countries;
  • In America, the UTeach Institute has partnered with ExxonMobil, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and UT Austin to educate science, technology, education and math teachers from 34 universities by 2020;
  • Nike has made a commitment to create and fund the Coalition for Adolescent Girls to promote education and literacy, provide vocational training and prevent teenage pregnancy.

Almost all of these publicly available facts were omitted from these and other articles on the Clinton Foundation in the last week or so.

Wonder why.

Fortunately for the tens of millions of people in America and around the globe whose lives have been saved or quality of life enhanced thanks to the Clinton Foundation’s good works, the Clintons have never let innuendo and political cheap shots get in the way of their lifelong commitment to public service and the public good. That is who they are — and now, with their impressive and articulate daughter, Chelsea, leading the foundation, we can be sure that isn’t going to change.  

Lanny Davis served as special counsel to former President Clinton and is principal in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, and is Executive Vice President of the strategic communications firm, LEVICK. He is the author of a recently published book, Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics, and Life (Threshold Editions/Simon and Schuster).