September 19, 2016

Clinton Scandals Leave Clinton Global Initiative Limping To The End

Today Bill Clinton will open up the final Clinton Global Initiative. Since its inception in 2005, The star-studded event is a shell of its former self. Long a venue for the rich and famous to hobnob with each other, the Clintons’ many scandals have left companies and prominent Democrats running for the exits.

The most notable absence will be President Barack Obama, who is skipping the conference for the second time. President Obama attended the Clinton Global Initiative six times, yet even as a lame duck, the Clinton Foundation is too toxic for the president to attend this year:

“Though Obama will be in New York the week in mid-September, he’s skipping an appearance at the annual— and final — meeting of Bill Clinton’s post-presidential project, which brought together business and world leaders for the last 12 years.”

Yesterday, the Associated Press’ Julie Pace highlighted the fact that even though President Obama will campaign for Clinton, he still won’t touch CGI anymore:

Additionally, President Obama’s absence amplifies the departures that occurred in 2015. In that year the number of world leaders who attended CGI dropped from eight the previous year, while the number of corporations involved also took a nose dive. This year only three world leaders have agreed to attend. Like in 2015, the number of corporations and sponsors who have signed up this year is a fraction of what the Clinton Global Initiative saw at its height:

“Barclays will not sponsor the event again this year, according to people familiar with the bank’s plans. Several other past sponsors have not finalized their commitments and at least one is leaning against participating this year. A handful of the 33 listed sponsors of last year’s conference confirmed to POLITICO that they are signing on again as sponsors, including Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, the Ford Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Yet even the announcement of the Clinton Global Initiative’s final meeting has not calmed many Democrats’ worries. That’s because just one week before the first Presidential debate, Clinton’s ties to the scandal-plagued foundation will be front and center throughout the nation:

“The 12th and final annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative will showcase its philanthropic work and also the Democratic nominee’s greatest potential vulnerability — her ties to a sprawling global charity that has accepted donations from Middle Eastern governments, foreign businessmen with checkered histories and major corporations with business before the government.”

The “dismay” many Democrats feel about the Clinton Global Initiative is unsurprising. In the past few months, the amount of stories that highlight the scandals surrounding the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative has been significant. See below for a sampling of the headlines that have past attendees of the Clinton Global Initiative telling the Clintons thanks but no thanks this year:

Associated Press: “Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State”

New York Times: “Emails Raise New Questions About Clinton Foundation Ties to State Dept.”

The Hill: “Seven ways the Clinton Foundation failed to meet its transparency promises”

Boston Globe: “Boston charity may cut ties to Clinton Foundation after the election”

Scripps News: “Exclusive: Clinton charities ignore law requiring them to disclose millions from foreign donors”

Wall Street Journal: “Calendar Shows Hillary Clinton Meetings With Foundation Donors”

Reuters: “State Department vetted Bill Clinton’s contacts, emails show”

Politico: “Bill Clinton used tax dollars to subsidize foundation, private email server”

McClatchy: “Ethics wall between State, Clinton Foundation didn’t extend to staff”

Washington Examiner: “Emails show Clinton ties to Russian oligarch under investigation”

Washington Examiner: “Clinton Foundation won’t disclose donors for Bill Clinton’s party”

Washington Examiner: “Emails show Clinton ties to Russian oligarch under investigation”

CNN: “Bill Clinton to celebrate birthday with glitzy Clinton Foundation fundraiser”

Daily Caller: “EXCLUSIVE: $216 Million From Clinton Foundation Donors Bought 205 Invitations to White House State Dinners”

Wall Street Journal: “New Batch of Hillary Clinton Emails Show Blurred Lines With Foundation Contacts”

The Hill: “Emails: Clinton Foundation exec sought diplomatic passport”

Washington Examiner: “Emails: Clinton said she saw ‘no conflict’ with foundation”

Washington Examiner: “Gaps in Clinton’s State Department schedules raise questions”

Los Angeles Times: “He was a billionaire who donated to the Clinton Foundation. Last year, he was denied entry into the U.S.”

New York Times: “2009 Emails Reveal Intersection of Clinton Family Interests”

Fox News: “Clinton-tied firm blurs legal line, combining politics and investments, say experts”

ABC: “Clinton Foundation Official Requests State Lunch Invitation, Special Seating for Foundation Allies, Emails Show”

Washington Examiner: “Top Clinton campaign donors frequently backed foundation”

The Hill: “Watchdogs warn of ‘serious’ conflicts of interest for Clinton Foundation”

Politico: “Ethicists scoff at Clinton Foundation transition plan”

Washington Post: “Foundation controversy forces Clinton campaign to play defense”