Eclectic bunch of donors -- near, far, left, even right -- gave to Clinton group
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Foreign governments, longtime Democratic fundraisers, entertainers and thousands of individuals gave money to former president Bill Clinton's charitable foundation in 2009, according to a list of donors the foundation released Friday under an agreement with President Obama to prevent the appearance of conflicts with Hillary Rodham Clinton's role as secretary of state.
Some foreign governments that had been multimillion-dollar donors in the past, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar, did not give in 2009, which was Hillary Clinton's first year in the Cabinet post. But other governments continued their giving, including Norway, which has given between $10 million and $25 million over the past several years, and Oman, whose donations have totaled between $1 million and $5 million.
Also among the 19,047 donors from last year are Slim-Fast founder and billionaire Democratic donor S. Daniel Abraham, who has given the Clinton Foundation between $5 million and $10 million; Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra, who has given more than $25 million; and Scottish financier Sir Tom Hunter, whose foundation has donated between $10 million and $25 million. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also gave money in 2009 and ranks among the top donors, having given more than $25 million.
"I am deeply grateful to the many generous contributors who made it possible for my foundation to accomplish so much in 2009, including increasing the number of people on lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment, helping cities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and inspiring millions of children to lead healthier lives," Clinton said in a statement.
The list designates whether donors gave money in 2009, but only details the total of their giving since the charity began raising money in 1998. It could not be determined how much each donor gave in 2009 alone.
Some prominent Clinton Foundation supporters did not give money last year, including Hollywood magnate Stephen L. Bing and upstate New York businessman Tom Golisano, each of whose past donations total between $10 million and $25 million. Citigroup, the banking firm that has received federal bailout money, is a past supporter but did not donate in 2009.
Among the list's more unusual donors is Richard M. Scaife, a conservative media baron who bankrolled anti-Clinton investigations in the 1990s. Scaife, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, has given the Clinton Foundation between $100,001 and $250,000, but did not make a donation last year.
Since its founding in 1997, more than 160,000 people have contributed to the Clinton Foundation, with more than 11,000 individuals giving for the first time last year. More than 90 percent of the foundation's donations last year were valued at $250 or less.
The foundation finances charitable programs in climate change, global health, poverty and education. It also hosts the annual Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together philanthropists, corporate chiefs, government officials and nonprofit leaders to find charitable solutions to worldwide problems.
The foundation said its activities have positively affected more than 220 million lives in 170 countries, including helping some 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS get access to medicines and helping 40 of the world's largest cities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, the foundation helped implement waste management projects in Delhi, launch the first-ever Zagat Guide to Harlem and provide more than 1 million meals to schoolchildren across Latin America.
The foundation also financed the construction of Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock. Clinton is under no legal obligation to identify his foundation's donors. Former president George W. Bush has not revealed the donors helping construct his presidential library in Texas.
Clinton resisted revealing his foundation's donors during his wife's presidential campaign, but he agreed to do so in late 2008 when Hillary Clinton was negotiating with Obama's transition team to join the Cabinet. In December 2008, Clinton for the first time released a list of donors, and has pledged to update the list annually, according to the agreement with Obama. Clinton also agreed that new donations from foreign governments would be examined by government ethics officers.