Intense scrutiny over the past week on the Clinton Foundation and the suspicion surrounding its donors marked perhaps only the beginning of a microscopic lens directed on Hillary Clinton as she vies for the nation's top office. In its first address of the controversy, the Clinton Foundation admitted to "mistakes" on tax forms that wrongly combined government grants with other donations, while defending its commitment to transparency in a statement released on Sunday.
The statement comes amid calls from the conservative author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Help Make Bill and Hillary Rich, Peter Schweizer, for an investigation into Clinton's time as Secretary of State. Schweizer alleges that there was a "pattern of behavior" of the State Department making decisions that favored countries whose governments donated to the foundation.
Acting CEO Maura Pally said in the statement published on the Clinton Foundation website that the organization had erred in how it disclosed its donors and handled its tax filings:
Our total revenue was accurately reported on each year's form — our error was that government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations. Those same grants have always been properly listed and broken out and available for anyone to see on our audited financial statements, posted on our website.
Questions about the foundation's funding have been brought up before, but only in the past week has it been the focus of renewed media attention following the small leak of details from Schweizer's book.
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Rosatom, a Russian atomic energy agency, purchased a Canadian uranium company after donating $2.3 million to the foundation. The purchase, which resulted in Rosatom owning huge deposits of uranium around the world and in the U.S., was signed off by a 16-member federal board that included the State Department, the newspaper reported.
Pally responded to the report in her statement, saying that the non-disclosure of donors by the foundation's Canadian branch was according to Canadian law prohibiting charities "from disclosing individual donors without prior permission from each donor." She also maintained that the foundation is working to correct its mistakes:
[Y]es, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future.
The conflict of interest between her foundation and her position in the State Department, if proven true, could be a disaster for Clinton's presidency campaign. But curiosity surrounding the Clinton family's wealth is not new, as is their secrecy about it. Last year, Clinton was the center of controversy after saying she was "dead broke" upon leaving the administration as Secretary of State, despite their reported massive wealth.
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