Is the Clinton Foundation hurting Hillary’s campaign?

Politico reports that supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign increasing see The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation as a “distraction.” Accordingly, says reporter Kenneth Vogel, the Foundation is considering dialing back its activity during the campaign.

In response to what Vogel calls “donor wariness,” the Clinton Foundation commissioned a study from the powerhouse Boston Consulting Group on how to improve its showcase endeavor, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). In this context, “improve” apparently means, at least in part, making it less “showy.”

Vogel describes the donor wariness this way:

Supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign privately grumble that the foundation is diverting the attention of Bill Clinton, her former president husband — as well as key donors — at a pivotal moment in the presidential campaign. They argue that CGI should suspend planned events during the primaries and just before the general election.

“Gosh, can’t they relax a bit on that work and focus on winning Iowa?” said one bundler. “But everyone is resigned to how they function, and presumes they know what they are doing.”

I’m not sure about “they,” but Bill Clinton clearly knows what he’s doing. According to Vogel:

With a week to go until Iowa’s pivotal caucuses, Hillary Clinton was holding a series of events in the frigid state, while Bill Clinton, her top surrogate, was in the sunny California desert presiding over a golf tournament in which the foundation is a partner and an annual foundation healthcare conference.

And next week ― soon after the caucus and just a few days before the New Hampshire primary ― CGI is holding a major gathering in Manhattan slated to be headlined by Bill and Chelsea Clinton, the foundation’s vice chair who is assuming an increasingly prominent role in both the foundation’s affairs and her mother’s campaign.

In my view, the most serious problem surrounding the Clinton Foundation isn’t its showy events or its competition with Hillary’s campaign for Bill’s attention. Rather, it’s the way the Clintons used the Foundation to enrich themselves by leveraging Hillary’s position as Secretary of State. Peter Schweizer documented this scandal in Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

This story receives scant attention now, having been pushed to the sidelines by the email scandal. However, there is at least one report that the FBI is investigating the “Clinton cash” scandal along with the emails.

Hillary’s backers have more to be nervous about than glitzy Foundation events and Bill’s preference for golfing (and whatever else) over campaigning.


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