Clinton charity draws eclectic donors in Hillary Clinton’s first year as secretary of stateBy Sharon Theimer, AP
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Clinton foundation draws eclectic donor list
WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton’s charity drew an international roster of donors last year, ranging from Norway and Oman to foreign lotteries, businessmen and celebrities, a contributor list released under an ethics promise by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton showed.
A donor rundown disclosed on New Year’s Day by the William J. Clinton Foundation shows that in all, Norway has given $10 million to $25 million to the charity since its founding roughly a decade ago. Oman donated $1 million to $5 million over the years. The list gave cumulative donation totals and didn’t say how much each contributor gave last year.
The foundation provided The Associated Press with a donor list Friday morning under the heading “William J. Clinton Foundation Publishes Names of 2009 Contributors on Foundation Web site” but later said the disclosure, which included many more foreign governments, covered donors dating back to the charity’s inception, and that it wouldn’t say who gave in 2009. The foundation changed course Friday afternoon and updated the list to specify 2009 donors.
The Clintons agreed to annually disclose the names of donors to the foundation to address concerns about potential conflicts of interest between the former president’s fundraising abroad and his wife’s role in helping direct Obama administration foreign policy.
Then-President-elect Barack Obama made the disclosure a condition of his selection of Hillary Rodham Clinton for the post, and the two senior lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said when the first list was released in December 2008 that the disclosure “is designed to establish greater transparency and predictability with regard to the activities of the Clinton Foundation in the context of Sen. Clinton’s service as secretary of state.”
The William J. Clinton Foundation works in the United States and around the world on such issues as health care, particularly HIV/AIDS; climate change, and economic development. It also runs the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., which includes Clinton’s presidential library.
“I am deeply grateful to the many generous contributors who made it possible for my foundation to accomplish so much in 2009, including increasing the number of people on lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment, helping cities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and inspiring millions of children to lead healthier lives,” Bill Clinton said in a written statement.
Several foreign governments that appeared in the foundation’s first disclosure in December 2008 didn’t give last year, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Brunei.
In releasing the list Friday, the foundation didn’t identify individual contributors’ employers, nationalities or any other details. It gave only cumulative ranges rather than precise donations, and didn’t provide a fundraising total. But it did say that more than 90 percent of the gifts it received last year were in donations of $250 or less. The foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.
The 2009 donors included three who ranked as the foundation’s all-time biggest givers, topping $25 million each since Bill Clinton founded the charity: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Canadian mining tycoon and Radcliffe Foundation chief executive Frank Giustra, and UNITAID.
Bill Clinton joined Giustra on a 2005 trip to Kazakhstan; within days after the pair met with Kazakhstan’s president, Giustra’s business lined up preliminary deals giving it rights to buy into uranium projects controlled by a Kazakhstan state-owned enterprise. Bill Clinton has said he had nothing to do with that.
In UNITAID’s case, almost all of the money simply passed through the foundation to buy commodities, the foundation said.
AUSAID, the Australian government’s overseas aid program, was also a 2009 giver. It donated $10 million to $25 million to the foundation over the years.
Those donating last year whose cumulative contributions total $5 million to $10 million include COPRESIDA, a Dominican Republic government agency formed to fight AIDS, whose donation of $5 million to $10 million passed through the foundation for commodity procurement; the Elton John AIDS Foundation; the Netherlands’ Nationale Postcode Loterij, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative - Canada.
The foundation has attracted at least one seemingly unlikely ally over the years, the list shows. Conservative Richard Scaife, who bankrolled anti-Clinton investigations in the 1990s, gave it $100,000 to $250,001 before 2009. As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton called the activities of Scaife and others part of “a vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
Among the donors last year:
— Alltel Corp., which has given $1 million to $5 million in all.
— Saudi Arabian businessman Nasser Al-Rashid and Argentine entrepreneur Gerardo Werthein, head of the Argentine Olympic Committee. Each gave $1 million to $5 million.
— The Coca-Cola Co. and the Swedish Postcode Lottery, which each donated $1 million to $5 million since the foundation started.
— The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which gave $250,001 to $500,000 over the years.
— Gustavo Cisneros and the Venevision entertainment company, whose enterprises include a TV network in Venezuela. They gave $250,001 to $500,000 in all. Cisneros is chief executive of Venevision parent the Cisneros Group; serves on the board of directors of the international Barrick Gold Corp.; and is on the Council on Foreign Relations International Advisory Board.
— International online retailer Alibaba Group, which gave $100,001 to $250,000 in all.
— Saudi businessman Hamza B. Al-Kholi, whose companies operate in the Middle East, Europe and United States in such industries as hotels and resorts, real estate development, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, banking, aviation and telecommunications. He gave at least $100,000.
— Professional golf’s PGA Tour Inc., which donated $50,001 to $100,000 overall.
— Celebrity businessman Donald Trump, who gave $50,001 to $100,000 in all.
— Automaker Nissan North America Inc. and the Metropolitan National Bank, which each has given $25,000 to $50,000 total.
— Bug Works Pest Control Co., demonstrating the wide range of donors, gave $1,001 TO $5,000.
The Clinton Family Foundation and Bill Clinton also gave in 2009; the donations total $1 million to $5 million over the years.
The Clintons were under no legal obligation to identify foundation donors. Presidents typically do not disclose the names of those who give to their foundations, even when the givers include foreign governments. Former President George W. Bush hasn’t said who is contributing to construction of his presidential library in Texas, for example.
In addition to providing a foundation donor list, the Clintons agreed that new donations from foreign governments would be examined by government ethics officers. An Obama spokesman said at the time that the agreement would meet the incoming president’s transparency promise and help to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
The White House had no comment Friday on the new disclosures.
Associated Press writers Larry Margasak and Pete Yost contributed to this report.
On the Net:
William J. Clinton Foundation: www.clintonfoundation.org/
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