This is according to a Bloomberg News analysis. Twenty-five of the Dow Jones’s 30 companies gave donations directly to the Clinton Foundation, while 27 of the companies announced philanthropic projects are to its associated Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Sixteen of the companies also responded to a plea from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to help underwrite a $60 million US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The lone holdout is UnitedHealth Group Inc.
The 30 companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, collectively spent $193 million last year lobbying the federal government and Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
As an example, Procter & Gamble Co., known for making a variety of household items, gave $3.9 million to CGI and donated another $3 million to the pavilion fund. While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the company lobbied the State Department on more than two-dozen issues, including trade deals and China policy.
Even Bloomberg News, which conducted this news analysis, is owned by Bloomberg LP, which has given $50,000 to $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and also has given money for the pavilion. Additionally, Bloomberg Philanthropies has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation.
David Almasi, the executive director for the National Center for Public Policy Research, says such donations are “always going to raise suspicions. It’s the appearance of impropriety that is the problem. If [the Clintons] are going to play like this, they are going to have to accept that we are going to be skeptical.”
Bloomberg News notes, “Federal law bans companies from making donations to candidates. The once and possibly future first family’s political and philanthropic network offers the private sector access points in the form of charitable projects that polish brands on both sides of the transaction.”
Bill Allison, director of the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation, says, “Even the donors who are writing $10,000 checks are going to get a level of attention to their concerns from Bill Clinton, and he is someone who is married to — potentially — the next president of the United States.”
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says, “This is the new theme. It isn’t just PACs [political action committees], it is giving to foundations with the politician’s name on it. You’ve got to call these companies. You’ve got to meet with them. Socialize with them. You become more dependent on them. You become more obligated. It is a terrible web of influence that operates in nonprofit areas.” (Bloomberg News, 5/5/2014)