The nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator, which placed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation on its watchlist in March because of questions raised in the media about whether gifts to the foundation were made in hopes of a quid pro quo from Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, has removed the foundation from the list, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
In a post on its website, Charity Navigator wrote that the foundation was removed from its watchlist “because the charity provided publicly accessible information regarding their amended tax Forms for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This information, along with the public memorandum submitted addressing the other issues raised in the Watchlist entry, meets our requirements for removal.”
The foundation filed its 990 tax form for 2014 in November.
The website notes reporting in the Wall Street Journal and other publications as prompting the placement of the foundation on its list:
Charity Navigator placed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation on the CN Watchlist because we became aware of the following information:
On February 19, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton “was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co., Exxon MobilCorp., Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.” The article goes on to state that “at the same time, those companies were among the many that gave to the Clinton family’s global foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.” The article says that “at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public and foundation disclosures.”
The article also states that “corporate donations to politically connected charities aren’t illegal so long as they aren’t in exchange for favors. There is no evidence of that with the Clinton Foundation. […] All of the companies mentioned in this article said their charitable donations had nothing to do with their lobbying agendas with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.” …
The website then goes on to note articles from Politico, the New York Times, Reuters and other publications, including FactCheck.org, which in a June 19 story headlined “Where Does Clinton Family Foundation Money Go?” took Republican presidential nominee candidate Carly Fiorina to task for saying that little of the foundation’s money goes to charity. FactCheck said the foundation is not a private grant-making foundation but a public charity, funding its own projects, and that 89 percent of its dollars go to charity.
Charity Navigator now says on its website that the Clinton Foundation’s “atypical business model” cannot be rated by CN’s methodology. “Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.”
In an article in November about Charity Navigator, the New York Times reported that the watchdog has changed the way it evaluates nonprofits for donors, and added:
One of the most talked-about surveys of donors this year suggests donors may greet these efforts with a big yawn. Only 35 percent do any research before making a gift, and only 10 percent use services like Charity Navigator as their primary source of information about nonprofits, according to research by the firm Hope Consulting.