May 5, 2014: 29 of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index have donated to the Clinton Foundation.

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30 Dow Jones Companies (Credit: public domain)

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.

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David Almasi (Credit: public domain)

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.”

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Ralph Nader (Credit: public domain)

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)

March 4, 2015: A non-profit watchdog suggests Clinton hid her emails because her government work and Clinton Foundation work was intertwined.

John Wonderlich (Credit: Personal Democracy Media)

John Wonderlich (Credit: Personal Democracy Media)

The New York Times reports that a Clinton spokesperson has declined to comment on Clinton’s “use of clintonemail.com for matters related to the Clinton Foundation, which has received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments.”

However, John Wonderlich, policy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates transparency in government, comments, “It seems her intent was to create a system where she could personally manage access to her communications” both relating to her secretary of state work and the Clinton Foundation. “Given all the power she had as secretary of state, a lot of that work would be jumbled together. Her presidential ambitions and the family foundation would be wrapped up technically in email.” (The New York Times, 3/4/2015)

April 26, 2015: “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons.”

Bill Allison (Credit: The Texas Tribune)

Bill Allison (Credit: The Texas Tribune)

This comment is by Bill Allison, who is a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit government watchdog group. Law professor Zephyr Teachout, a Democratic candidate for governor of New York in 2014, was an organizing director there. (The Daily Mail, 4/27/2015) It is headed by Chris Gates, who was chairman of the Democratic Party in Colorado. (The Colorado Independent, 9/9/2014)