Bill Clinton Celebrating Ritzy Birthday Bash With Foundation Fundraiser

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton / AP
• September 15, 2016 1:39 pm


The Clintons are hosting a ritzy fundraiser on Friday night to raise money for the Clinton Foundation, while also belatedly celebrating Bill Clinton’s 70th birthday, Politico reported Wednesday night.

The fundraiser is being held at the Rainbow Room, a fine-dining restaurant on the 65th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. Plans called for performances by Wynton Marsalis, Jon Bon Jovi, and Barbra Streisand, according to people briefed on the planning. They said that major donors are being asked to give $250,000 to be listed as a chair for the party, $100,000 to be listed a co-chair, and $50,000 to be listed as a vice-chair.

Clinton Foundation officials confirmed the event will be the foundation’s final fundraiser before the presidential election in November. The Clintons are expected to restrict foreign donations and distance themselves from the foundation if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wins the White House. Bill Clinton previously said he would step down from the board of the foundation, but that his daughter, Chelsea, would stay on.

Hillary Clinton, who has been recovering from pneumonia over the last couple days, will not be in attendance, according to her campaign; however, the ritzy party is still being scrutinized because foundation officials will not disclose how much money has been raised or the names of the donors until after the election.

Since its founding in 1997, the foundation has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to health and disaster relief programs, among other humanitarian efforts.

The foundation has pledged to enact a series of reforms if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, including having Bill Clinton step down from the board, and no longer accepting foreign or corporate donations.

The reforms are part of an effort to tamp down concerns about potential conflicts of interest that have dogged Clinton during her presidential campaign. Her campaign has spent considerable time responding to questions about whether foundation donors got special access to the State Department when she was secretary of state.

Clinton Foundation president Donna Shalala was on CNN Thursday morning and was asked by host Alisyn Camerota whether the foundation would be disclosing the donors’ names and how much they donated.

"We will disclose the donors. There’s no question about it. We will disclose the donors. We will, as we do on our tax return, disclose the money that we raise, the tax–the IRS tells you actually not to connect the donation with the person’s name, " Shalala said.

While Shalala did say the donors would be disclosed, she did not clarify whether it would be before the November election.

Donald Trump’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller was quoted in an email to Trump supporters on Thursday calling for the Clinton Foundation to release the donors for Friday’s fundraiser.

In addition to Friday’s fundraiser, many of the foundation’s major donors will convene Monday for a three-day gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York City.

Not only are major foundation donors gathering at the Rainbow Room on Friday, but on Monday, they’ll convene again five blocks away for the final three-day gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative, which typically concludes with a gala dinner.

Some Clinton supporters have been grumbling for months that it was politically unwise to hold a CGI meeting seven weeks before the election, but they at least conceded that it was a justifiable sendoff for a program that engaged global business leaders in noble humanitarian pursuits.

Republicans are not the only ones concerned about Friday’s fundraiser, as Clinton supporters are worried the optics could fuel transparency issues for her campaign.

The Rainbow Room party, on the other hand, induced cringes among some Clinton supporters, who cast it as an unnecessary show of excess at a sensitive time in the presidential race. Clinton’s campaign is scrambling to deal with questions about her health, her transparency, the efficacy of the foundation reforms, and her declaration–for which she has since apologized–that half of the supporters of her GOP rival Donald Trump are "deplorables."

The Rainbow Room party is a "bad idea," said one Clinton supporter who has worked with the foundation, who predicted that the fundraiser would call even more attention to the Clintons relationships with their donors.