Report: Clinton’s Charity Arranged $2M Commitment That Benefited Their Friends

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton / AP
May 12, 2016

The Clinton Global Initiative arranged a $2 million commitment in 2010 that benefited a company partially owned by individuals with ties to Hillary and Bill Clinton, according to a report Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The $2 million commitment was placed on the agenda for a September 2010 conference of the Clinton Global Initiative at Mr. Clinton’s urging, according to a document from the period and people familiar with the matter. Mr. Clinton also personally endorsed the company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant that year, said people with knowledge of the endorsement. The company, whose business plan was to insulate people’s homes and let them pay via their utility bills, received an $812,000 Energy Department grant. Mr. Chu, now a professor at Stanford University, said he didn’t remember the conversation. ... Under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest but instead in the public interest, on broad issues such as education or poverty.

The Clinton Global Initiative, a nonprofit established in 2005, is an initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that arranges donations to implement solutions to challenges around the world.

The for-profit company that benefitted from the $2 million commitment, Energy Pioneer Solutions, was founded by a Democrat from Nebraska named Scott Kleeb who ran for Congress twice.

The company was also partially owned by Julie Tauber McMahon in 2009, according to internal documents cited by the Journal. McMahon is friends with Bill Clinton and lives in Chappaqua, New York, where the Clintons’ home is located. Additionally, Andrew Tobias, treasurer for the Democratic National Committee, and Mark Weiner, a Rhode Island Democratic political operative, both owned small percentages of the company. Both are also Clinton friends.

The commitment to the company came from a private individual who was personally investing in a for-profit company, according to the Journal. Usually, commitments announced at the annual CGI event are given to charities and nongovernmental organizations.

"President Clinton has forged an amazing universe of relationships and friendships throughout his life that endure to this day, and many of those individuals and friends are involved in CGI Commitments because they share a passion for making a positive impact in the world," foundation officials told the Journal.

"As opposed to a conflict of interest, they share a common interest."

The Clinton’s charity has undergone scrutiny in the past year for accepting millions of dollars in contributions from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, despite limits put on such donations by an agreement with the Obama administration.