Hillary Clinton Dismisses Ethical Concerns About Foundation, Says Donations Are Transparent

March 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton dismissed on Wednesday the idea that her family’s foundation presents any conflict of interest for her as a presidential candidate, ensuring that all donations to the organization have been and will continue to be fully transparent.

The Democratic presidential frontrunner’s comments come as The Clinton Foundation, founded by her husband and former president Bill Clinton, continues to undergo scrutiny for questions surrounding its finances.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Clinton during an interview if the foundation should be "wound down" during the presidential race for ethical reasons.

"I think it is not unreasonable to suspect that people may give donations to the Clinton Foundation hoping that they will favorably influence your opinion toward them as a presidential candidate or eventually as president if you’re elected," Maddow said to Clinton. "Is there an ethical concern there that there should be essentially a split between you and your family and this foundation?"

"Look, I think the work that [the foundation] has done has been extraordinary," Clinton said in response. "And I give the credit to my husband and my daughter because I haven’t been involved for that long ... And I would hate to lose that creativity, that imagination, that extraordinary flexibility.

"So I think the answer is transparency, and there is no doubt that there will be complete transparency about donations," Clinton said. "But when you have hundreds of thousands of people who are donating as they do, I think that the best answer for that is what we have been doing for the last several years, and that is to be transparent about it and let voters and others make their judgment."

The Clinton Foundation has faced financial issues in recent years relating to tax return errors about the reporting of foreign donations, raising questions about the organization’s transparency. Clinton has acknowledged that the foundation made "mistakes" but assured that its transparency was never in doubt.

There have also been concerns about the foundation creating a conflict of interest for Clinton over policy decisions, including when she served as secretary of state. One example that gained publicity last year was when the Clinton Foundation became tangled up in a uranium business deal that involved the Russian government, an incident the New York Times detailed in a lengthy story.

The Foundation received a subpoena from State Department investigators last fall for documents about the charity‘s activities that possibly required approval from the federal government while Clinton was secretary of state.

There have been additional reports showing that Bill Clinton received millions of dollars in speaking fees from organizations that are also donors to the foundation, which has taken in approximately $2 billion total.

The Clinton Foundation received heightened scrutiny after the publication of Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Business Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, which came out last year.

Maddow did not ask Clinton any follow-up questions about the controversy surrounding the foundation.