Politics

Clinton Foundation Put On Charity ‘Watch List’ Along With Al Sharpton’s Shady Nonprofit

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

The Clinton Foundation has joined Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network on a list of naughty nonprofits maintained by Charity Navigator, a prominent charity monitor.

The Clinton Foundation was put on Charity Navigator’s “watch list” last month, The New York Post reported on Sunday.

The foundation has come under intense scrutiny of late amid revelations it received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Money also flowed to the foundation from companies and businessmen who benefited from their relationship to the Clintons.

Furthermore, analysis of the foundation’s tax forms showed it spends a relatively small percentage of its income on charitable activity.

Charity Navigator created a watch list last year to include any charity that does not “meet our criteria.” Organizations are placed on the list when Charity Navigator becomes “aware of conduct that may affect a donor’s decision to support that charity.”

Of the Clinton Foundation, Charity Navigator wrote: “We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology,” while noting “our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity.”

Charity Navigator’s list includes 23 organizations in total. Besides the Clinton Foundation and Sharpton’s National Action Network, other high-profile organizations on the list include the Red Cross and the Sierra Club.

National Action Network’s listing is due to the organization’s failure to pay payroll taxes for its employees. The New York Times reported in November that Sharpton and his group have a total of $4.5 million in pending state and federal tax liens.

The Red Cross is included on the watch list based on reports that it spends too little of its revenue on programs to further its mission. The Sierra Club is on the list because it allegedly failed to get permission to publish the names of several businesses in North Carolina used in a report about Duke Energy.

In its justification for placing the Clinton Foundation on its watch list, Charity Navigator cited numerous recent articles concerning donations from foreign governments.

It cited a Feb. 19, Wall Street Journal report claiming “at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during [Hillary Clinton’s] tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

Charity Navigator also noted that on Feb. 26, Politico reported the Clinton Foundation failed to inform the State Department of a $500,000 donation it received from the Algerian government.

The foundation has received numerous donations from foreign governments, including many in the Middle East. The governments of Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have sent millions to the charity.

While Charity Navigator focused only on the Clinton Foundation’s donors, it could plausibly add the organization’s low payout rate to its watch list rationale.

Last month, the website The Federalist looked at the Clinton Foundation’s IRS filings for the period between 2008 and 2012. According to its analysis, only 15 percent of the $500 million raised during that span when towards grants for other organizations.

Nearly $110 million was paid out in the form of salaries and benefits while $25 million went towards travel expenses. Almost 60 percent of the organization’s disclosed revenue — or $290 million — was listed under the category of “other expenses.”

That pattern continued into 2013, The Post notes. Of the $140 million in money the Clinton Foundation received in 2013, only $9 million was given out as charity to other groups.

In general, groups that monitor charities’ activities say a good charity spends at least 75 percent of its income on causes related to its core mission.

The Clintons’ operation of their family charity has raised questions about transparency, potential conflicts of interest and of — as Mitt Romney characterized it earlier this week — possible bribery.

One government watchdog appeared to agree with the latter observation.

“It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,” Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the government watchdog Sunlight Foundation, told The Post.

On Sunday, the Clinton Foundation released a statement admitting “we made mistakes.” The Foundation said earlier this week that it plans to refile several years of tax returns because it failed to disclose all of its donations. (RELATED: Clinton Foundation Fesses Up: ‘We Made Mistakes’)

According to Charity Navigator, it monitors groups for six months until it determines issues identified by the watch list are resolved.

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