1997: President Bill Clinton forms a non-profit called the Clinton Foundation.

It starts off with a modest focus on his planned presidential library in Arkansas. But once Clinton’s term as president ends in early 2001, the Clinton Foundation will steadily expand its mission and its size, eventually becoming one of the largest charities in the world. By 2015, it will have raised over $2 billion in donations. Bill Clinton never takes a salary from the foundation, nor does his wife Hillary Clinton. However, the two of them combined will earn over $150 million in speaking fees, often giving speeches discussing the foundation’s work.

A 2015 Washington Post article will comment, “At its heart, the Clinton Foundation is an ingenious machine that can turn something intangible—the Clintons’ global goodwill—into something tangible: money. For the Clintons’ charitable causes. For their aides and allies. And, indirectly, for the Clintons themselves.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)

June 21, 2007: A Canadian offshoot of the Clinton Foundation is formed; it will later be called a “structured money-laundering operation.”

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) logo. (Credit: CGEP)

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) logo. (Credit: CGEP)

Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former president Bill Clinton launch the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian charity that is an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation. The CGEP will become known for many charitable works, including funding relief efforts after a 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

However, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein will allege in a 2015 Harper’s Magazine article that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” for the Clintons. He will write that CGEP “has been moving significant sums of money into the Clinton Foundation’s flagship in New York. There’s no way for the public to know precisely how much total money the CGEP has taken in over the years—or how much it has forwarded on to the Clinton Foundation—because, unlike in the United States, under Canadian non-profit law charities don’t need to report donors to tax authorities.” Nearly all the donors to the CGEP are unknown. It is also unknown how much CGEP has given the Clinton Foundation, except that it ranks in the top donor class of $25 million or more.

Charles Ortel, an independent financial expert, will say, “There are no effective controls over the Clinton Foundation or the [CGEP]. No independent party has had access to the bank account records, including wire transfer records. There are no independent directors ensuring compliance with the law. Only a fool would have any confidence in their numbers; it’s like Al Capone forming a foundation.”

An unnamed “money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East who had access to the Foundation’s confidential banking information” will claim that members of royal families in the Middle East and officials in corrupt governments around the world donate money to the CGEP, which is then sent to the Clinton Foundation. For instance, “Equatorial Guinea doesn’t give to the Clinton Foundation in New York because it’s too embarrassing [for the Clintons]. They give the money anonymously in Canada and that buys them political protection in the United States. The Clinton Foundation is a professionally structured money-laundering operation. […] I can’t say for certain that it’s illegal because I don’t have access to all the financial information but at best they are skating along the edge.” The source concludes that if one puts together all the known evidence, “it’s obvious that the Foundation is a fraud.”

The Clinton Foundation will fail to disclose an account linked to the CGEP on eight consecutive tax returns, including the time Hillary Clinton is secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

August 2007: A second Canadian offshoot allows big donations to secretly pass to the Clinton Foundation.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

Aides to former President Bill Clinton start a Canadian charity called “the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada)” or the CGEPC. This is very similar to but separate from another Bill Clinton-related Canadian charity simply named the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) that was formed two months earlier. All the donations from both charities seem to get forwarded to the Clinton Foundation.

The New York Times will later report that the CGEPC “effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million…despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.”

The Clinton Foundation will later claim that the CGEPC, like the CGEP, was created by Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra to allow Canadian donors to get a tax break for supporting the Clinton Foundation’s work. But the New York Times will later report, “However, interviews with tax lawyers and officials in Canada cast doubt on assertions that the partnership was necessary to confer a tax benefit; an examination shows that for many donors it was not needed, and in any event, since 2010, Canadians could have donated to the foundation directly and received the same tax break. Also, it is not at all clear that privacy laws prohibit the partnership from disclosing its donors, the tax lawyers and officials in Canada said.” (The New York Times, 4/29/2015)

Early 2009—March 2015: Sid Blumenthal takes a job at the Clinton Foundation, advises the secretary of state frequently, and promotes the interests of two government contractors.

Sid Blumenthal (Credit: The Guardian)

Sid Blumenthal (Credit: The Guardian)

Sid Blumenthal is paid about $120,000 a year as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation. He gets the job in early 2009 at the behest of former President Bill Clinton, who employed him in the White House in the 1990s. He keeps the job until March 2015, the same month that the Clinton email scandal first becomes news.

Blumenthal is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and a journalist. He appears to have been a private citizen without a security clearance since the 1990s. Yet for the duration of Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and while he is being paid by the Clinton Foundation, he frequently emails her with intelligence information and advice. His foundation job doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of the foundation’s charitable works.

According to Politico, “While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of [Bill] Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation.”

In 2011, Blumenthal has a business relationship with two companies, Osprey Global Solutions and Constellations Group, trying to get government contracts to assist US-supported rebels in Libya that year.

After March 2015, Blumenthal will be a paid consultant to American Bridge and Media Matters, two groups supporting Clinton’s presidential campaign that are run by David Brock, an ally of both Clinton and Blumenthal. Politico will later comment, “Blumenthal’s concurrent work for the foundation, the Brock groups, and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya underscores the blurred lines between her State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises.” (Politico, 5/28/2015)

January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: While Clinton is secretary of state, at least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that donate to the Clinton Foundation also lobby Clinton’s State Department.

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

Bill Clinton also collects $26 million in speaking fees from Clinton Foundation donors. These numbers will be calculated by Vox in 2015. Vox will comment that no one “has produced anything close to evidence of a quid pro quo in which Hillary Clinton took official action in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation.”

However, “public records alone reveal a nearly limitless supply of cozy relationships between the Clintons and companies with interests before the government. […] That’s not illegal, but it is scandalous.” Vox adds, “Ultimately, it is impossible to tell where one end of the two-headed Clinton political and philanthropic operation ends and where the other begins.” (Vox, 4/28/2015)

January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: While Clinton is secretary of state, tens of millions of foreign donations are given to a branch of the Clinton Foundation, yet are never submitted to State Department lawyers for review.

Ira Magaziner (Credit: Scott Kingsley)

Ira Magaziner (Credit: Scott Kingsley)

The branch is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Just before Clinton became secretary of state, an agreement was signed between the Clinton Foundation and the Obama White House in order to prevent conflict of interest problems with Clinton’s new position. During these years, the CHAI has a budget of over $100 million a year, making it worth nearly 60 percent of all of the Clintons’ charities. The agreement with the White House not only specified transparency rules that were ignored, but also prohibited any significant increase in foreign government giving over previous yearly levels. Yet foreign government grants to CHAI increases from $27 million in 2010 to $56 million in 2013.

In 2015, the CEO of CHAI, former Hillary Clinton adviser Ira Magaziner, will respond to some of the omissions, but will “decline to explain why no part of the pact [with the White House] was ever activated.” (The Boston Globe, 4/30/2015)

January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: The Clinton Foundation refuses any significant increases in donations from foreign governments while Clinton is secretary of state, but individuals with direct ties to foreign governments do increase their giving.

Clinton (center left) meets Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal (center right) upon her arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 15, 2010. (Credit: Reuters / Saudi Press Agency)

Clinton (center left) meets Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal (center right) upon her arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 15, 2010. (Credit: Reuters / Saudi Press Agency)

For instance, although the Saudi government doesn’t donate money to the foundation during this time, but prominent Saudis, including members of the Saudi royal family, do give millions. About a dozen foreign individuals and the foundations and companies they control collectively give between $34 million and $68 million during Clinton’s tenure. Another $60 million goes to charitable projects sponsored by the foundation. (The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2015)

September 23, 2010: A CGI commitment benefits a for-profit company partly owned by friends of the Clintons.

Julie Tauber McMahon (Credit: Getty Images)

Julie Tauber McMahon (Credit: Getty Images)

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is a yearly conference connected to the Clinton Foundation that helps inspire and arrange donations to solve problems around the world.

At the personal request of Bill Clinton, the September 2010 CGI conference sets up a financial commitment to benefit a for-profit company partly owned by people who have ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. The company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., is a small start-up that has a business plan to insulate homes and let the owners pay through their monthly utility bills. The company is 29% owned by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska; 29% by Jane Eckert, an art gallery owner; 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon, a close friend of Bill Clinton; 5% by Andrew Tobias, Democratic National Committee treasurer and longtime Clinton friend; and 5% by Mark Weiner, a former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, and also a longtime Clinton friend.

Out of thousands of CGI commitments, this is one of only a handful that involve private individuals making a personal financial investment in a for-profit company, instead of donations to non-profits or charities. The commitment is added to a database at the CGI website, but it will be removed several months later.

The Wall Street Journal will later report, “The reason was to avoid calling attention to Mr. Clinton’s friendship with one company co-owner, Ms. McMahon, and to protect the integrity of Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, according to people familiar with the matter.” Bill Clinton also personally endorsed the company to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, resulting in a $812,000 grant from the Energy Department that year. The IRS requires that tax-exempt charitable organizations like CGI “must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests.” The $2 million commitment is eventually achieved for the company, although it’s not clear which who gave and by how much. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016)

In 2014, it will be alleged in some tabloids that McMahon had a prolonged affair will Bill Clinton, roughly from 2001 until 2013, but McMahon will deny it and say they are just close friends. (The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (Heavy.com, 8/14/2014)

February 18, 2015: Most major donors to the Clinton Foundation are foreigners or political supporters of the Clintons.

Dennis Cheng (Credit: public domain)

Dennis Cheng (Credit: public domain)

The Washington Post reports that nearly half of the major donors who are backing Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as nearly half of the bundlers for her 2008 presidential campaign, have given at least $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, “many of the foundation’s biggest donors are foreigners who are legally barred from giving to US political candidates. A third of foundation donors who have given more than $1 million are foreign governments or other entities based outside the United States, and foreign donors make up more than half of those who have given more than $5 million.”

The high percentage of donations from overseas is considered “especially unusual” for a US-based charity. The Post comments that many foreign donors “are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration—and yet are ineligible to give to US political campaigns.” The Post also notes, “The overlap between the Clintons’ political network and their charitable work was apparent [on February 13, 2013], when Dennis Cheng stepped down as the foundation’s chief development officer ahead of his expected role as a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.” (The Washington Post, 2/18/2015)

April 19, 2015: The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation, has over 1,000 undisclosed donors, and the amount they have given is unknown.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bloomberg News calls this news report a “politically explosive revelation…because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state.” In December 2008, just before Clinton took office, the Clinton Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Obama White House promising to reveal its donors. This agreement explicitly included the CGEP, so this revelation shows the agreement was not upheld.

Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra, who cofounded the CGEP with former President Bill Clinton, says, “We’re not trying to hide anything. […] All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified.”

Giustra and the Clinton Foundation assert that Canadian law prevents them from revealing the CGEP’s donors. However, Bloomberg News reports, “Canadian tax and privacy law experts were dubious of this claim.” Len Farber, former director of tax policy at Canada’s Department of Finance, says, “There’s nothing that would preclude them from releasing the names of donors. It’s entirely up to them.” (Bloomberg News, 4/19/2015)

In November 2015, a Harper’s Magazine article will claim that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” which has allowed politically toxic foreign contributors to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation, with the hopes of influencing Clinton while she was secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

June 2, 2015: The Washington Post reports on the controversial reputation of the Clinton Foundation.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Washington, DC, September 8, 2014. Their foundations have partnered to launch The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. (Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Washington, DC, September 8, 2014. Their foundations have partnered to launch The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. (Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

“Today, the Clinton Foundation is unlike anything else in the history of the nation and, perhaps, the world: It is a global philanthropic empire run by a former US president and closely affiliated with a potential future president, with the audacious goal of solving some of the world’s most vexing problems by bringing together the wealthiest, glitziest, and most powerful people from every part of the planet. […] The foundation now includes 11 major initiatives, focused on issues as divergent as crop yields in Africa, earthquake relief in Haiti, and the cost of AIDS drugs worldwide. In all, the Clintons’ constellation of related charities has raised $2 billion, employs more than 2,000 people, and has a combined annual budget of more than $223 million.”

According to the independent watchdog group the American Institute of Philanthropy, the foundation spends about 89 percent of its money on its charitable mission. Thus that group has given it an A rating (with A-plus being the best). However, Charity Navigator, the other leading watchdog group that rates charities, has not issued a grade for the foundation, saying its structure makes it too complex to grade. In 2015, it put the foundation on its “watch list,” due to negative media reports. (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)

Autumn 2015: State Department investigators issue a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation.

They are “seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state,” according to the Washington Post. The subpoena includes a request for records about Huma Abedin, “a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.” Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, is behind the subpoena.

In February 2016, the Post will report that the “full scope and status of the inquiry” is not clear. Inspector general investigative powers are limited. For instance, they can obtain documents, but they cannot compel testimony. (The Washington Post, 2/11/2016)

November 17, 2015: The Clinton Foundation is accused of being a money laundering front to benefit the Clintons.

Ken Silverstein (Credit; Tribute Magazine)

Ken Silverstein (Credit; Tribute Magazine)

Longtime investigative journalist Ken Silverstein writes an expose about the foundation for Harper’s Magazine. He asserts: “If the Justice Department and law enforcement agencies do their jobs, the foundation will be closed and its current and past trustees, who include Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton, will be indicted. That’s because their so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich Clinton family friends.”

As one example, Silverstein notes that the Clinton Foundation has received more than $1 billion to purchase HIV/AIDS drugs for poor people around the world. “However, a unit set up to receive the money…clearly spent far, far less than it took in. In fact, the unit’s accounting practices were so shoddy that its license was revoked by the state of Massachusetts, where it was headquartered.”

An unnamed “money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East who had access to the foundation’s confidential banking information” claims that all investigators would have to do “is match up Hillary’s travel as secretary of state with Bill’s speaking arrangements. Bill heads out to foreign countries and he gets paid huge amounts of money for a thirty-minute speech and then she heads out for an official visit as a favor. She racked up more miles than any secretary of state [other than Condoleezza Rice] and that’s one of the reasons why. How can they get away with that?” The Clinton Foundation has not commented on the allegations. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

March 23, 2016: A Congressperson calls the Clinton Foundation a “sham” charity.

Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R) sends a letter to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], asking it to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s nonprofit status. “The FTC has a history of investigating ‘sham’ charities for false and deceptive statements and should initiate a review of the foundation. […] Consistent with the FTC’s mission and precedent, we request that you review [my] allegations to determine if the Foundation is a ‘sham’ charity.” (The Seaton Post, 3/23/2016)

May 13, 2016: Trump doubts that the Clinton Foundation is a real charity.

New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

When asked about the Clinton Foundation, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says, “I assume you put the word charity in quotes.” His comment comes one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the foundation-connected Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) may have benefitted a for-profit company partially owned by Julie Tauber McMahon.

Furthermore, there have been tabloid accusations that Bill Clinton and McMahon had a long-time romance despite his marriage to Hillary Clinton. Trump says of the story, “Well, it is a bombshell, there’s no doubt about it.” He also says people have been whispering about Bill Clinton’s romantic involvement with McMahon “for years,” but “I have no idea what went on.”

Real Clear Politics reporter Rebecca Berg comments, “It plays right into this narrative that [Trump] is trying to build that Hillary Clinton is crooked, that she’s corrupt, and Donald Trump we saw in the primary used this specter of public corruption very effectively.” (CNN, 5/13/2016) (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016(The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (The New York Post, 5/13/2016)