Clinton Foundation Skirting State Laws, Dem Attorney General Says No Problem

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The Clinton Foundation has skirted New York State rules requiring the disclosure of contributions from foreign governments, with the help of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman has the power to compel the disclose of names of foreign governments who have given to the Foundation — he has not yet done so.

“He’s not doing his job in that case,” attorney David Nelson told Scripps News, which published a detailed review of the Foundation’s disclosure practices. “The Clinton Foundation cannot say they are in compliance with New York regulations.”

Nelson previously served on the Council on Foundations, the leading nonprofit group which establishes best practices for charitable organizations like the Clinton Foundation.

New York state hosts some of the most rigorous disclosure and compliance requirements for nonprofits in the nation. State law requires entities like the Clinton Foundation to annually disclose the name of any agency from which they receive a contribution, along with the dollar amount collected. In addition, the state AG’s office publishes a wide spectrum of specific criteria for charities to abide by. For example, the AG’s office reminds charities to ensure its disclosures to the state are identical to its disclosures to the IRS.

The Scripps review found a Clinton Foundation spinoff, Clinton Health Access Initiative, did not disclose $225 million in foreign government grants to New York regulators. The Foundation proper disclosed only lump sum totals to the state, and stopped disclosing foreign contributions altogether in 2010.

“Every instance where there was an opportunity to be more transparent or less they chose to be less transparent,” Nelson said.

Scheiderman is a Democrat who serves on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s leadership council in New York state.

“The Clinton Foundation’s disclosures regarding funding from foreign governments are in compliance with New York law,” his office said. The Clinton Foundation also denied there is anything unseemly afoot, as it lists its donors on its website and updates the list quarterly.

Among known foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation is Swedish-Canadian oil and mining conglomerate Lundin Group, which human rights activists say produces “blood minerals” from exploitative African facilities. (RELATED: Exclusive: Clinton Foundation Got $100M From ‘Blood Minerals’ Firm)

Despite publicly extolling the virtue of transparency, Schneiderman himself is the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging secret coordination with other state attorneys general and nonprofit groups. The Competitive Enterprise Institute brought a lawsuit against him after his office denied a Freedom of Information Act request to release all documents involving a common-interest agreement between his office and green activists seeking to intimidate groups who don’t acknowledge climate change. The lawsuit comes in connection with Schneiderman’s public crusade with over a dozen other state AGs against ExxonMobil for its stance on climate change. The case has since faltered(RELATED: New York AG That Attacked Exxon Sued For Concealing Investigation)  

“What is AG Schneiderman’s office trying to hide?” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement. “None of the reasons Schneiderman claimed for withholding these documents are legitimate under New York law.”

The New York Post reports its review of the Clinton Foundation’s peer institutions, including the George W. Bush Foundation, are in compliance with state and federal laws surrounding disclosure.

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