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Clinton Charity Under Fire For Steering Grant to Clinton Friends

International Leaders And Luminaries Attend Clinton Global InitiativeInternational Leaders And Luminaries Attend Clinton Global Initiative
Former President Bill ClintonPhoto by John Moore—Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal is accusing the Bill Clinton and his charity the Clinton Global Initiative of running afoul of IRS rules prohibiting charities from benefiting “private interests.”

According to the report, CGI—a program of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation—gave a $2 million grant to Energy Pioneer Services to weatherize low-income family’s home. The problem, according to the report, is that Energy Pioneer Services is owned by friends of the Clintons.

“Energy Pioneer Solutions was founded in 2009 by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska,” the report reads. “An internal document from that year showed it was owned 29% by Mr. Kleeb; 29% by Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua.”

The report implies that this runs afoul of IRS rules but quotes no experts saying that the transaction would lead to legal trouble for the Clinton family. It’s not clear whether just because the grant was given to a company owned by friends of the Clintons that this means that the Clinton Global Initiative was “organized or operated for the benefit of private interests,” something the IRS proscribes.

A CGI Spokesperson told the Journal, “President Clinton has forged an amazing universe of relationships and friendships throughout his life that endure to this day, and many of those individuals and friends are involved in CGI Commitments because they share a passion for making a positive impact in the world. As opposed to a conflict of interest, they share a common interest.”

 

The Clintons have also been criticized for taking donations for the Clinton Global Initiative from foreigners with close ties to foreign governments that had business before Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.