The president of the Clinton Foundation admitted on Wednesday that there is “no question” that donors to the non-profit are helped out by the powerful former first family through “courtesy appointments.”
“There’s no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people,” Donna Shalala told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell in an interview.
Shalala was named president of the Clinton Foundation last year. As soon as she took over she was faced with withering criticism that the Clinton family entity was nothing more than a vehicle for the Clintons’ pocketbooks and political ambitions. Donald Trump and other Clinton critics have said that the charity is a “pay to play” scheme.
But Shalala, who was Bill Clinton’s first secretary of Health and Human Services, disputed that claim, saying that access was provided to well-known philanthropists like Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda.
“There were also business people, there’s no question about that,” Shalala acknowledged. “But I don’t see any evidence that there was policy decisions made as a result of that other than courtesy appointments.”
“People in public life are used to doing that kind of, that is making courtesy appointments for people. I certainly did it as secretary,” added Shalala, who was president of the University of Miami before taking over the Clinton Foundation.
“I don’t find it unusual. I do think we have to be careful, we have to be careful that it’s not linked to policy decisions as opposed to simply seeing prominent people that ask for appointments.”