Hmmm… maybe I should start a charity…..what’s sauce for the goose…
Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year — $1 million of which went to their own family non-profit, the Clinton Family Foundation.
Clinton released her tax forms on Friday in a move that is seen as a way to pressure Donald Trump to release his taxes. The GOP nominee has refused to release the records, saying that he is under a routine audit.
The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches.
(Correction: This article initially identified the Clinton non-profit that received the bulk of the Clintons’ charitable donations as the Clinton Foundation. The $1 million contribution actually went to the Clinton Family Foundation. The Clintons control the entity, but it is separate from the Clinton Foundation.)
Of that, they gave just over a million to charity. But the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.
The other $42,000 contribution was to Desert Classic Charities. That group hosts an annual PGA golf event. Doug Band, a Clinton Foundation adviser and Bill Clinton’s longtime assistant, was on the board of directors of that organization through 2014, according to its IRS filings.
Desert Classic Charities effectively returned that donation back into the Clinton orbit. Its 2015 tax filing shows that it contributed $700,000 to the Clinton Foundation for work on obesity programs. The group handed out $1.6 million in grants that whole year.
The Clintons’ effective federal tax rate was 34.2 percent, the Clinton campaign said in a press release. With state and local taxes amounting to nine percent of their income, they paid just over 43 percent of their income in taxes.
It remains to be seen if Clinton will face the same scrutiny for her in-house contributions as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did when he ran on the GOP ticket in 2012.
Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes and gave $4 million in charity on income of $14 million. But many liberal commentators criticized the Republican because a majority of those charitable contributions went to the Mormon church. Another chunk went to a foundation controlled by his family.
The Nation, a far-left magazine, published an article entitled “Romney’s Ungenerous Donations.”
Mother Jones, another liberal publication, published several articles skewering Romney for giving to his own church.
The Clintons’ million dollar donation went to their Clinton Family Foundation. That is a separate entity than the more well-known Clinton Foundation. Nevertheless, the Clintons still control the money that flows into and out of the charity.
In 2014, the Clintons gave $3 million to the charity, according to documents filed with the IRS. Of that sum, $1.87 million was passed to the Clinton Foundation. The rest was distributed to a variety of other charities. The next largest donation from the Clinton Family Foundation that year was a $250,000 contribution to the Diplomacy Center Foundation. Hillary Clinton is on the board of directors of that group along with several other former top U.S. diplomats.
The Clinton Foundation has been at the center of several controversies that have hobbled Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by eroding trust in the former secretary of state. Numerous wealthy donors to the non-profit received favors from the Clinton State Department. The foundation has also been criticized for accepting millions of dollars in donations from countries with records of human rights abuses. Saudi Arabia has given the organization between $10 million and $25 million.
It was also revealed earlier this week that a Clinton Foundation adviser named Doug Band contacted several Clinton State Department aides in 2009 asking for a favor for a million-dollar Clinton Foundation donor named Gilbert Chagoury. Chagoury, a Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire, was at one time an associate of Nigerian dictator Sani Abache. He formed a relationship with Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Another foreign donor’s activities piqued the interest of the FBI last year, according to a recent report from CNN. A bank informed the bureau of a Clinton Foundation donor’s “suspicious activity.” The FBI and three Justice Department field offices thought that the lead warranted an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. But the DOJ’s public integrity unit declined to open up a formal probe.
The Clinton Foundation may still be under federal investigation, however. The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York, is conducting a joint investigation with the FBI out of his office.
This article has been updated with additional information.