Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ethics of Clinton Foundation Accepting Foreign Donations

The Clinton Foundation is a charity that raises money for the improvement of education, health care, and much more. It has recently been found accepting foreign donations, as their ban on foreign donations was lifted when Hillary resigned as Secretary of State. It is particularly interesting that the Wall Street Journal found these undeclared donations. The Foundation has raised over $48 million from foreign countries. Some of the countries donating in the last year were: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia. The Clintons use money from their foundation to pay for travel expenses. As they are travelling, they are spreading their word. It is thought that this money is also being used to pay for political advisors. This makes this money directly linked to supporting Hillary and her message. It should be noted that foreign contributions towards political campaigns are strictly prohibited for good reason, as it creates a conflict of interest. Since Hillary is a highly potential Presidential Candidate, this creates an ethical question of whether this money from foreign countries should be allowed. It can be speculated that these foreign countries that are donating to the foundation are expecting something in return. This is a potential ethical problem because these foreign countries want influence. I agree with the Wall Street Journal that the Clinton Foundation should give back the money donated by foreign countries. The Obama Administration was correct in asking the Clinton Administration to ban foreign donations when Hillary became Secretary of State and this ban needs to be in place again.

Questions:
Do you think that the foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation are ethically wrong?
What should happen to the foreign money already donated to the Foundation?
Should Hillary be disqualified from running for President since she has accepted the money?

3 comments:

Kelsey O'Donnell said...

I love Hillary but I do think that this is a little sketchy. Through her foundation she is finding ways to spread her word and her influence and she is definitely a big contender for President like you said so I think that's cheating in a way. However, with the Clinton foundation, a lot of the work they're doing is to help women and help impoverished nations and help with health care and education. These are all important issues that aren't necessarily Hillary spreading her agenda and future policies so I think that that is why she has been doing it and why she has been able to do it for so long. I don't necessarily think that she should return all the donated money from other countries but I do think that she needs to be more transparent on what the money is used for and make a clear line between campaigning and helping the country.

CleoWienbar7 said...

I definitely don't think that Clinton should be disqualified from the presidential race because her foundation received money from other countries. I am also undecided on the potential impact on Clinton's ability to remain unbiased towards those countries. While I understand the potential conflict of interest, I think it is unlikely that people overestimate how much this will influence Clinton. She is an experienced negotiator, and I doubt she will suddenly be deferential to the countries who donated. However, since this could be potentially harmful during the presidential race, she should make a point my donating all the money from other countries to actual charitable goods and services, like to schools and such. That way, she cannot be accused of benefiting from the money.
That said, if Clinton does become president, she should not allow donations from other countries, just like when she was Secretary of State.

Netta Wang 7 said...

I agree that the foreign donations can raise issues in the upcoming presidential election, and I think that if she does formally declare her candidacy, she should also address how she is going to be ensuring a separation between her philanthropic funds and work and her campaigning. Regardless, all nonprofits are required to submit their financial statements (including the salaries of key employees and other information) to the IRS. This information is then required to be disclosed to anyone who requests it. These records often reveal much about the expenditures of the nonprofit and are used to determine the ethicality and merit of a certain nonprofit. I'm curious to see how people analyze the use of funds in the Clinton Foundation this past year, although I speculate that there won't be any outwardly inappropriate uses of money (since the Clinton Foundation is known to be a reputable charity, and for good reason) but I think there may be questions raised in the nuances between trips that advocate her own political standing vs her charitable work.