The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation will amend tax returns filed to the IRS in recent years to reflect that it accepted donations from foreign governments, a foundation official said Thursday.
The official said the organization is reviewing its tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012 and anticipated refiling the returns after the review is complete. The amendment, which was first reported by Reuters, is necessary because the foundation inaccurately reported to the IRS that it had accepted no government money in those years.
In fact, the foundation has acknowledged accepting millions in donations from foreign governments in those years, which overlapped with the time Hillary Rodham Clinton served as secretary of state.
Charities are allowed to amend their filings, and, in any case, it is not clear whether the government donation error would be considered so serious as to require an amendment.
The foundation official, who spoke on background to explain the internal workings of the organization, also said foreign government donations were no secret and were reported in other ways: The money was included in the overall revenue figures reported to the IRS, he said, and the fact that the dollars came from government sources was noted in the organization's annual audited financial reports, posted on its Web site. Plus, the names of governments that had donated were included in a list of donors posted by the foundation each year on its Web site.
Still, the amendment is especially awkward for the organization because it highlights the foundation's continued receipt of foreign money while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Republicans have pounced on the foreign donations as a potential conflict of interest for the new presidential candidate.
The foundation received millions in donations from seven foreign governments between 2009 and 2013, despite an ethics agreement signed with the Obama administration in 2008 designed to limit such contributions. The agreement allowed governments that had been donating before its adoption to continue to do so at similar levels as in the past.
The foundation last week announced that while Hillary Clinton is running for president, it would limit foreign government donations to six nations that have supported its work in the past — Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Britain.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative, an offshoot of the foundation that works to improve global health, indicated that it would potentially allow donations from additional nations, with the approval of its board. An official there said it, too, was reviewing its 2012 and 2013 tax filings.