The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees are a drop in the Clinton Foundation’s massive fundraising bucket

When The Post first reported that Hillary Clinton had earned more than $1 million in speaking fees from appearances at various universities — including public ones — the soon-to-be-2016 candidate's defense was that the money "goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation." The recipient foundation? The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. And if those fees were less than $5 million, which seems likely, this would position Hillary as, at most, the 31st-biggest donor to the huge, sweeping institution that bears her name.

Between 2002 and 2012, the Clinton Foundation (which was at first named only after the former president) raised $1.1 billion in donations and other income streams. As of its most recent publicly available filing with the IRS, required for nonprofits, the foundation had net assets exceeding $180 million. The foundation plays a lot of roles: running the Clinton Presidential Center (his library) in Little Rock, hosting the Clinton Global Initiative, and running various initiatives focused on global health and the climate.

According to the organization's Web site, more than 500 donors have given $100,000 or more to the foundation since its inception. At the top tier of giving, $25 million or more, there are six donors: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, philanthropist Fred Eychaner, Canadian philanthropist Frank Giustra (via the Radcliffe Foundation), another joint Giustra-Clinton organization based in Canada, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and global health initiative UNITAID. How much those groups gave isn't clear, but, combined, it's at least $150 million and as much as $500 million.


As with any organization, the Clinton Foundation's annual receipts ebb and flow, as do its assets and liabilities.



The size and scale of the foundation have attracted attention before. Last year, The New York Times reported that lawyers were reviewing the scale of the operation and the role of key employees. As Politico reports, the conservative group America Rising — which has been relentless in tracking Clinton as she gears up for 2016 — has called on the foundation to release detailed information about the legal review and past staff. Among them: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who was a director for the foundation in an unpaid capacity before winning his office last year. And, of course, Chelsea Clinton, who holds the same position.

Reports on the foundation's 2013 finances aren't yet available publicly. But if it's anything like 2012, $1 million from Hillary Clinton speeches would amount to less than 1 percent of the organization's overall receipts. That's less than a quarter of what the foundation spent just on travel two years ago.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.



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