January 15, 2009: The Clinton Foundation releases its list of donors for the first time.

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

The foundation is not legally obliged to do so, but there is political pressure, with this being the first day of Hillary Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearing for her to become the next secretary of state.

The list shows that over 200,000 donors gave at least $492 million dollars since the foundation was founded in 1997. Exact contribution amounts are unknown because the list only gives ranges. At least $46 million comes directly from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia. The foundation promises to reveal all future donors on a yearly basis, and new foreign government donations will be scrutinized by “government ethics officers.” Some donations come from sources that could lead to controversy or conflicts of interest.

For instance, the Blackwater security firm donated between $10,001 to $25,000. The Associated Press notes the company is “at risk of losing its lucrative government contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq.”

The Internet company Yahoo, as well as its top executives Jerry Yang, Frank Biondi, and Terry Semel donated as well. The Associated Press comments that the company has been “involved in disputes over surrendering Internet information to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of dissidents there.”

Also, Victor Dahdaleh gave between $1 million to $5 million. He is a Canadian investor involved in aluminum production. He has been sued for fraud and bribery by a Bahrain aluminum company, and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation about it. (The Associated Press, 1/18/2009) Dahdaleh will be acquitted in the legal case in 2013. But he will be implicated in a different financial scandal in 2016. (Yahoo Finance, 5/25/2016)

November 2012: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) does not give the Clinton Foundation its annual stamp of approval.

The Better Business Bureau accredited business logo. (Credit: The Better Business Bureau)

The Better Business Bureau accredited business logo. (Credit: The Better Business Bureau)

It rates the foundation as not meeting their standards in six categories, mostly having to do with transparency. (Better Business Bureau, 11/2012) The BBB has yet to give its full approval since then.

In March 2015, after numerous news reports criticize the foundation, the BBB will say their review of the foundation is “in progress.” That will still be the case in April 2016. (Better Business Bureau, 3/28/2015) (Better Business Bureau, 4/4/2016)

April 30, 2015: The Clinton Foundation is said to be in a “campaign tailspin.”

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

Politico reports this after some major donors are reconsidering giving to the foundation due to recent negative media reports as well as Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement she is running for president again. An unnamed donor who gave at least $500,000 to the foundation last year says, “There are a lot of factors and the reputational is among them. We had some questions about how the money was being spent—and that was long before the problems were in the press.” (Politico, 4/30/2015)

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)

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)