WASHINGTON — The acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation says the global philanthropy is working quickly to remedy mistakes it made in how it disclosed donors, saying that its policies on transparency and contributions from foreign governments are “stronger than ever.”
Maura Pally posted the statement Sunday on the foundation’s website amid swirling questions about its financial support as Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her presidential campaign. The former secretary of state in recent weeks has sought to dismiss the scrutiny as “distractions and attacks” by Republicans seeking to discredit her, but on Sunday, Pally acknowledged the foundation had made some errors.
Pally said the Clinton Foundation expected to refile some of its tax forms, following a voluntary external review, because it had “mistakenly combined” government grants with other donations. She stressed the total revenue was reported accurately and that grants were properly broken out on audited statements on its website.
“Yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future,” she said.
Pally defended the foundation’s charitable work and reaffirmed its commitment to transparency. She explained that it took “unprecedented steps” to avoid potential conflicts of interest with annual disclosure of donors when Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. Now that Clinton is running for president, Pally said, the foundation intends to release the information quarterly and limit foreign government contributions to a “handful of governments.”
Pally also described the foundation’s work with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which she said received funding from a separate organization in Canada. She said that partnership does not disclose its donors because under Canadian law they are not disclosed without prior permission from each donor.
“This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency,” Pally said.
That partnership has come under scrutiny because it is named after Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining billionaire who has donated more than $31 million to the Clinton Foundation since the mid-2000s.
The Clinton Foundation was started in 2001 by former President Bill Clinton.
Amid the questions about the foundation’s financing, Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea will be starting a nine-day trip to Africa on Wednesday to highlight the group’s work on issues such as economic growth and empowerment, climate change and empowering women and girls.
HOPE YEN, Associated Press