The Clinton Foundation’s vague timetable to limit its involvement with overseas programs, and its insistence that Chelsea Clinton remain on its board, raise red flags for ethics watchdogs even as the charity vows to avoid conflicts of interest in a Hillary Clintonpresidency.
Foundation President Donna Shalala suggested Tuesday that reorganizing the $2 billion enterprise could not happen overnight. The charity pledged last week not to accept foreign or corporate donations if Clinton is elected.
“This kind of unraveling has to be done with a scalpel so that we just do not hurt people, and do not interrupt the very good work that’s being done,” Shalala said in an interview with NPR.
But Richard Painter, former ethics counsel in the George W. Bush administration, said that if the Clintons really wanted to separate themselves, they could do it tomorrow.
Independent trustees with experience at other charities could oversee any necessary changes without jeopardizing programs, he said.
Questions about how the global philanthropy would sever ties that raise potential conflicts of interest for a President Clinton are the latest controversy surrounding its work. Assertions that donors to the charity got special access to Clinton while she was secretary of state have dogged her campaign.
GOP rival Donald Trump went even further, calling for a special prosecutor to “investigate Hillary Clinton’s crimes,” after additional emails were released showing foundation officials asking the former secretary’s top aides for favors for donors.