Millionaire Donald Trump demanded on Monday that the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation shut down, calling it “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”
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But while Trump’s own charitable giving has been repeatedly shown to be less than he has claimed, the Clinton’s foundation has raised and distributed millions of dollars toward global health, empowerment of women, reducing childhood obesity, addressing climate change, and rebuilding Haiti. If Trump’s advice were followed, these works would end.
The Clinton Foundation’s 2014 IRS filings indicate some of these efforts. The organization spent more than $4 million on climate and economic development programs in central America and the Caribbean, more than $2 million on climate work in East Asia and the Pacific, more than $6 million on South American economic development, and more than $8 million on climate and economic efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. It also gave $2 million in grant money to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit that works to promote healthy lifestyles for kids. An examination by CharityWatch found that at least 88 percent of the funds raised for the organization go to programs, earning the Clintons’ foundation an “A” rating. FactCheck.org confirmed that figure.
Indeed, Trump once praised the Clintons’ foundation and directed his own foundation’s funds to it: “The Clinton Foundation was helping with Haiti and with lots of other things, and I thought it was going to do some good work, so it didn’t make any difference to me,” he said in January, adding that he was disappointed to learn it had used some funds for “private aircraft and things like that.”
Trump came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed that his January stunt fundraising event for veterans — at which he had claimed raised $6 million — had not come close to that figure. Only after the Wall Street Journal reported that beneficiary charities had received just a “fraction of the promised money” did Trump make good on his promise and donate the $1 million he had previously announced. Even the conservative Weekly Standard noted that Trump’s giving to veterans had been negligible.
An April examination by the Washington Post found that Trump’s much-boasted-about charitable giving had come almost entirely from his own foundation —to which Trump himself did not appear to have donated any significant amount. Much of his “giving” consisted of free rounds of golf at Trump-owned golf resorts. The paper later reported that Trump had “used money donated for charity to buy himself a Tim Tebow-signed football helmet.” A 2011 report by The Smoking Gun dubbed him “The Least Charitable Billionaire,” though Trump’s self-proclaimed status as a billionaire has as of yet been unverified, and in 1999 the site dubbed him “The .00013% Man,” for his “paltry” charitable giving.
Last week, another investigation by the Washington Post found that even when Trump claimed on his NBC television show The Celebrity Apprentice that he would make “personal” contributions from his “own account,” the funds actually were transferred from either his foundation or the show’s production company in every instance the paper could document. “The Washington Post tracked all the ‘personal’ gifts that Trump promised on the show — during 83 episodes and seven seasons — but could not confirm a single case in which Trump actually sent a gift from his own pocket.”
Trump’s other personal charitable giving, if any, has not been documented because he continues to refuse to release his tax returns. Bill and Hillary Clinton donated more than $1 million last year to charitable causes, nearly 10 percent of their total income.
Bill Clinton announced last week that the foundation will cease accepting corporate and international donations should Hillary Clinton win in November.