Clinton Foundation Revenue Balloons Thanks to Government Grants

Controversial group reports $172 million in revenue and previously undisclosed details on taxpayer support

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton / AP

Contributions to Hillary Clinton’s family foundation grew dramatically last year to more than $170 million, a record for the group, but it gave out significantly less in grant money than the year before, according to annual tax filings.

The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation released the latest such filing on Monday night, as well as revised versions of filings for prior years that contained errors and ambiguities that the foundation agreed to correct.

It shows $172 million in contributions last year, an increase of about $30 million over 2013. The group reported cash reserves of more than $350 million.

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About a third of the foundation’s increase in contributions over 2013 came in the form of grants from governments. It received $15.2 million from governments last year, compared to $4.5 million in 2013, according to an amended tax filing also posted to the foundation’s website on Monday.

"For many of the issues that the Clinton Foundation works on … governments are often the largest funders of this work worldwide," the group said in a statement accompanying its release of its 2014 tax filings and amended filings for prior years.

It adjusted filings from 2012, 2011, and 2010 to reveal the amount of revenue it derived from such governments, figures that had not been previously disclosed. In total, those filings revealed an additional $18 million in government grants.

"The amount of government grants was included on the Foundation’s original returns as part of the aggregate amount of all contributions, but not separately broken out," the statement explained. In other words, government grants were counted in the group’s revenue total, but were not specifically identified.

According to its 2014 filing, the foundation spent about $92 million last year. While the bulk of the funds went toward "program service expenses," or expenses pertaining to tax-exempt charitable activities, it provided far less in grants than it spent on travel, conferences, and salary and benefits for its employees.

The $5.1 million in grant money the foundation doled out in 2014 marked a significant decline from its $8 million in grants the year before.

In comparison, the foundation reported spending $12.5 million on "conferences, conventions, and meetings," $7.8 million on travel, and more than $30 million on salary and benefits for its employees and officers.

The 2014 filing also disclosed for the first time the amount of revenue derived from paid speeches by members of the Clinton family since 2010. Of the $9 million in speech payments reported since then, $3.6 million came last year.

The foundation pointed to its sizable increases in revenue last year as evidence that the group has thrived in the face of scrutiny resulting from Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The foundation has come under fire since Clinton Cash, a book by Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, noted numerous occasions on which Clinton, as secretary of state, took official actions that benefitted foundation donors.

The foundation bragged last month that it was raising large amounts of money despite that criticism.

"A spokesman said there were also more sponsors this year of the foundation's annual multi-day Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September, countering reports that corporate supporters had backed off because of a newly politicized atmosphere around the gathering," the Washington Post reported.

However, critics of Clinton’s relationship with the foundation say that the increase underscored their point. It "helps when one of the namesakes is running for president," a Republican National Committee spokesman said at the time.