the Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid. That's because the organization spent the vast bulk of its windfall on "administration, travel, salaries and bonuses", with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
In early May, we introduced readers to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who uncovered financial discrepancies at General Electric before its stock crashed in 2008, and whom the Sunday Times of London described as "one of the finest analysts of financial statements on the planet" in a 2009 story detailing the troubles at AIG. Having moved on beyond simple corporate fraud, Ortel spent the past year and a half digging into something more relevant to the current US situation:"charities", and specifically the Clinton Foundation’s public records, federal and state-level tax filings, and donor disclosures.
Four months ago, Ortel began releasing his preliminary findings in the first of a series of up to 40 planned reports on his website. His allegation was simple: “this is a charity fraud.”
To learn more about the Clinton Foundation, Ortel decided to "take it apart and see how it worked" and he has been doing that ever since February 2015.
“I decided, as I did with GE, let’s pick one that’s complicated,” said Ortel. “The Clinton Foundation is complicated, but it’s really very small compared to GE.”
When Ortel tried to match up the Clinton Foundation’s tax filings with the disclosure reports from its major donors, he said he started to find problems. That includes records from the foundation’s many offshoots—including the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative—as well as its foreign subsidiaries.
"I decided it would be fun to cross-check what their donors thought they did when they donated to the Clinton Foundation, and that’s when I got really irritated,” he said. “There are massive discrepancies between what some of the major donors say they gave to the Clinton Foundation to do, and what the Clinton Foundation said what they got from the donors and what they did with it."
As previously reported, last year the Clinton Foundation was forced to issue corrected tax filings for several years to correct donation errors. But Ortel said many of the discrepancies remain. “I’m against charity fraud. I think people in both parties are against charity fraud, and this is a charity fraud,” he said.
To be sure, Ortel's efforts were to be commended: digging through the foundation's numbers can not have been easy, considering that the nation’s most influential charity watchdog put the Clinton Foundation on its “watch list” of problematic nonprofits in 2015. Furthermore, the Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid. That's because the organization spent the vast bulk of its windfall on "administration, travel, salaries and bonuses", with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
“It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group where progressive Democrat and Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout was once an organizing director.
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Overnight, on his website, Ortel released the long-awaited executive summary of his numerous, and at time confusing, findings: "Beginning today, and regularly thereafter, numerous detailed Exhibits will examine the known public record of the Clinton Charity Network within the context of applicable state, federal, and foreign laws."
And while we await the upcoming exhibits to his summary, here are the main highlights from the executive summary, which we urge all visitors - who have an even passing interest in the effort that has consumed the Clintons' time and energy for the two decades, and brought them substantial wealth - to read.
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* * *EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Understanding the Clinton Foundation Public Record in Proper Context: 1997 to Present
To informed analysts, the Clinton Foundation appears to be a rogue charity that has neither been organized nor operated lawfully from inception in October 1997 to date--as you will grow to realize, it is a case study in international charity fraud, of mammoth proportions.
In particular, the Clinton Foundation has never been validly authorized to pursue tax-exempt purposes other than as a presidential archive and research facility based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Moreover, its operations have never been controlled by independent trustees and its financial results have never been properly audited by independent accountants.
In contrast to this stark reality, Bill Clinton recently continued a long pattern of dissembling, likening himself to Robin Hood and dismissing critics of his “philanthropic” post-presidency, despite mounting concerns over perceived conflicts of interest and irregularities.
Normally, evaluating the efficacy of a charity objectively is performed looking closely into hard facts only -specifically, determining whether monies spent upon “program service expenditures” actually have furthered the limited, authorized “tax-exempt purposes” of entities such as the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, its subsidiaries, its joint ventures, and its affiliates (together, the “Clinton Charity Network”).
But, popular former presidents of the United States retain “bully pulpits” from which they certainly can spin sweet-sounding themes to a general audience and media that is not sufficiently acquainted with the strict laws and regulations that do, in fact , tether trustees of a tax-exempt organization to following only a mission that has been validly pre-approved by the Internal Revenue Service, on the basis of a complete and truthful application.
This Executive Summary carries forward a process of demonstrating that the Clinton Foundation illegally veered from its IRS-authorized mission within days of Bill Clinton’s departure from the White House in January 2001, using publicly available information which, in certain cases, has been purposefully omitted or obscured in disclosures offered through the Clinton Foundation website, its principal public portal.
Getting to Reality
The question of whether a federally authorized nonprofit corporation has been validly organized and operated is a question of fact, best answered through close review of the record.
Without having access to helpful corroborative materials (including board minutes, donor solicitation presentations, after-action reports to donors, management representation letters to accountants, internal memoranda, and communications with key counterparties), this Executive Summary previews 40 detailed Exhibits that dissect portions of the public record concerning activities of the Clinton Charity Network.
Determined review of these 40 Exhibits that deal primarily with the period 23 October 1997 (when the Clinton Foundation was organized) through 2011 (when attempts to re-organize the Clinton Foundation were most active) demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that the Clinton Charity Network was neither organized nor operated lawfully.
As the following IRS publication states clearly, a nonprofit corporation must pass both an “organizational test” and an “operational test” to be legitimately exempt from federal income taxes.
“The Dual Test: Organized and Operated
1. IRC 501(c)(3) requires an organization to be both "organized" and "operated" exclusively for one or more IRC 501(c)(3) purposes. If the organization fails either the organizational test or the operational test, it is not exempt. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)–1(a)(1).
2. The organizational test concerns the organization’s articles of organization or comparable governing document. The operational test concerns the organization’s activities. A deficiency in an organization’s governing document cannot be cured by the organization’s actual operations. Likewise, an organization whose activities are not within the statute will not qualify for exemption by virtue of a well written charter. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)–1(b)(1)(iv).”
The Clinton Foundation and each part of the Clinton Charity Network fails either the organizational test, the operational test, or both of these tests. The consequences for failing to meet either the organizational test or the operational test are severe. In normal circumstances, a charity would have its tax-exempt status revoked retroactively.
The “charity” would then have to refile its tax returns and pay corporate income taxes upon any profits earned from the date its authorization is revoked, forward to the present.
Donors who took tax deductions in the relevant time periods would owe personal income taxes on contributions they had made.
And, a raft of criminal as well as civil sanctions would likely ensue, whose financial consequences might, or might not be mitigated by insurance.
What the Public Record Reveals about Clinton Foundation Entities
To understand the full extent of illegal activities involving Clinton Foundation entities and personnel, you must resist unvetted words and numbers published in press releases, marketing brochures, and filings to state, federal, and foreign governments, the latter having been submitted under penalties of perjury.
Instead, you must concentrate upon “stubborn facts”--information whose veracity you can confirm, for yourself.
Though allies of the Clinton family, and some extended family members believe otherwise, in truth: “...whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, you cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
What does available evidence reveal about the scale and scope of frauds committed and ongoing by the Clinton Foundation Charity Network?
At this point, Ortel previews the 40 detailed Exhibits which will be published starting September 7 on www.charlesortel.com. As a preview of the extensive analysis contained in these Exhibits, "these Exhibits document an escalating pattern of lawlessness and suggest that trustees of entities in the Clinton Charity Network exhibited gross negligence and reckless disregard in performance of their solemn duties."
The exhibits can be read in their entirety in the pdf attached at the bottom of this post.
Instead, we fast forward to Ortel's conclusion:
His stunning summary: "An educated guess, based upon ongoing analysis of the public record begun in February 2015, is that the Clinton Foundation entities are part of a network that has defrauded donors and created illegal private gains of approximately $100 billion in combined magnitude, and possibly more, since 23 October 1997."The scope and scale of illegal activities carried out by trustees, executives, significant donors, and professional advisors in the names of Clinton Foundation entities are only evident when you consider abundant information in the public domain and then read the body of laws that serves as a framework for regulating charities and their solicitation efforts.
All told, declared donations to Clinton Foundation entities from 1997 through 2014 are greater than $2 billion; but this vast amount is likely a pittance when compared to sums sent to affiliated “charities” and relief efforts around the world. Though required by strict laws, no part of the Clinton Charity Network (including affiliates and joint ventures) has ever procured a comprehensive, independent, and compliant audit of its financial results.
No part of the Clinton Charity Network is controlled by experienced and independent trustees who can defend against conflicts of interest--in consequence Clinton charities regularly are used illegally to create substantial “private gain”, and to advance the political interests of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party.
Unless and until an independent conservator is appointed by the Arkansas State Attorney General, the public will not know the true dimensions of a fraud that started in Bill Clinton’s home state and in Washington, D.C., then metastasized, and spread around the world.