Turmoil at Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a $2 billion honey pot of money extracted from a mix of the venal influence-seekers and the charitable, attracts a lot of flies. Unsurprisingly, it appears that battles already are breaking out over control of the lucre. Chelsea Clinton, whose name was added to the foundation, it appears has attempted to install her own people, only to be rebuffed by those closely connected to her parents’ political rise.
Politico Magazine has a lengthy report on the recent termination of Eric Braverman as CEO. Braverman, who was Chelsea Clinton’s boss during her brief employment at McKinsey & Company, was brought in to install more professional management of the nonprofit, and perhaps (my speculation) to head off questions of slush fund-like behavior, such as financing millions of dollars a year in luxury travel for the probably Democrat candidate for president in 2016.
In the words Kenneth Vogel, Braverman had only a “brief, and occasionally fraught tenure trying to navigate the Clintons’ insular world.”
Some brief excerpts:
At the foundation, sources say, Lindsey and other longtime Bill Clinton confidants hampered Braverman’s reform efforts by warning the former president not to allow too many changes that could be interpreted as a course correction. The result was that Braverman would develop consensus around reforms, but, when he tried to implement them, the old guard would try to undercut him, say people familiar with his tenure. They say he lacked the political background or allies to navigate between the Clintons and their sometimes divergent power bases. (snip)
Another flashpoint came in 2013, when the foundation was renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, an elevation of the Clintons’ daughter that struck some of the old guard as presumptuous and troubling. It was one thing, they grumbled, to add the name of a former first lady who had also been elected a United States senator and was coming off an acclaimed stint as secretary of state—but their kid? (snip)
And some rolled their eyes when the foundation’s $250 million was invested with a firm called Summit Rock Advisers where Chelsea Clinton’s best friend Nicole Davison Fox is managing director. The two were classmates at Sidwell Friends School and Davison Fox interned in the Clinton White House. She later served as matron of honor in Clinton’s wedding, and her husband was a founding employee of the hedge fund started by Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky.
With no accomplishments to her name other than those bestowed on her by her parentage, Chelsea Clinton quite justifiably could see her future more tightly tethered to the Foundation than her parents. She would quite naturally want to install allies at key points, and bestow boons, in the form of outsize salaries, on them. The Foundation does pay well:
Braverman: $395,000 plus bonus and Ira Magaziner: $495,000 in 2013 for what appears to be part time work.
Until the Clintons, the third world phenomenon of vast fortunes earned not by enterprise but by term in office was unknown in the United States. But today it is different.