The Clinton and Trump Foundations Are Vastly Different. Here’s How! [NYT] OCT. 22, 2016

The Trump and Clinton campaigns have traded barbs and accusations about each other’s charitable foundations. The two foundations differ widely in size, purpose and the reach of their charitable work.



What Do the Foundations Do?




The Clinton Foundation sponsors programs in public health, economic development, women’s rights and climate change. Much of its work has been praised, including efforts to lower the price of AIDS medication and distribute it to children.


But the foundation hasn’t always succeeded. In Haiti, its signature project after the 2010 earthquake — the Caracol Industrial Park — has provided only a fraction of the jobs promised, and those are low paying.


How Large Are the Foundations, and Who Funds Them?




The Clinton Foundation is a giant among world charities, raising an estimated $2 billion through 2016 and employing around 2,000 people. According to Bill Clinton, the foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative have helped more than 435 million people in 180 countries.


The Clinton Foundation is largely funded by third parties (including foreign governments), other major foundations and billionaire admirers of the foundation’s work.




Mr. Trump’s foundation is modest in size, with no paid staff and a board that is composed of Mr. Trump, his three oldest children and the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. The Trumps estimate that they each spend half an hour a week on foundation work. Mr. Trump has donated $5.4 million to his foundation over the years, according to tax filings.


Until the 2007 housing market crash, the foundation was primarily funded with Mr. Trump’s money. Since then the foundation has been funded mostly by other people’s donations, which is unusual for a family foundation.


How Have the Foundations Been Criticized?




The Trump campaign has accused the Clinton Foundation of being a conduit for wealthy business people seeking to influence the Clintons, particularly when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state.


The Clintons maintain that no special favors were done for foundation donors, and that no special access was given to the State Department.


But it’s easy to see how the appearance of a conflict of interest could arise, with foreign governments and business people making large donations to the foundation.


During Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, Douglas J. Band, an adviser to Bill Clinton and then head of the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative, emailed her staff to ask for a diplomatic introduction for Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian industrialist and one of the foundation’s major donors, saying that he’s a “key guy there and to us.”




Recent reporting on the Trump Foundation, primarily from The Washington Post, has centered on Mr. Trump’s repeated use of foundation money to make donations that simultaneously helped him solve a personal or business problem.


Here’s an example: After Mr. Trump put up a flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., that was higher than the town allowed, the town council began fining him for every day it remained in place. Mr. Trump sued.


The case was eventually settled with Mr. Trump agreeing to donate $100,000 to charity, according to The Washington Post. But the donation came from the Trump Foundation instead of Mr. Trump himself. Using charity money to satisfy a personal lawsuit is typically considered to be self-dealing, an illegal use of nonprofit foundation funds.


The New York Times reported in September that Mr. Trump’s foundation does not show up on the charity registers in many states, highlighting how the foundation at times has not complied with non-profit regulations.



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