How low can the Clintons go?

Just when you thought Family Clinton, consisting of ex president Bill Clinton, first woman president wannabe Hillary Rodham Clinton and maybe future president wannabe Chelsea Clinton, couldn't sink any lower, lie any more, be more morally deviant along comes a blockbuster report in the New York Times proving the Clintons will do anything, and we mean anything, for money including ripping off children's education.  And more. 

The NYTimes' report is long, detailed and well worthwhile reading in its entirety but in essence Clinton took his large standard speaking fee from a charity dedicated to building schools in tsunami ripped Thailand and earthquake wracked Haiti to prevent them from never being "dead broke" again.  And more. 

A high fashion model who was vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami struck and survived after a harrowing ordeal  started the Happy Hearts Fund to build schools in the country.  Every year she organizes a fancy gala to raise money for her Fund.  To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the disaster she wanted an extra fancy affair reasoning she could to pull in even more money from her wealthy donors by bringing in the biggest attraction as a speaker.  And so she did what many charities do soliciting sports figures, entertainers, politicians and other Big Names as headliners for publicity for the charity and the event.  The Big Names who accept usually agree to a modest honorarium if they are appearing for a charity. 

The Happy Hearts model organizer wanted the Biggest Name, William Jefferson Clinton, former president of the United States.  After multiple solicitations, he agreed.  But no symbolic honorarium and  plaque for him.  He demanded full price.  After all, he's "gotta pay our bills." 

And so the charity agreed, hoping the Biggest Name would attract enough new wealthy donors to offset the costs.  Interestingly, as it turned out, it did not: attendance was lower than the previous years' fund raiers.

An Award for Bill Clinton Came With $500,000 for His Foundation 

The former president of the United States agreed to accept a lifetime achievement award at the June 2014 event after Ms. Nemcova offered a $500,000 contribution to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The donation, made late last year after the foundation sent the charity an invoice, amounted to almost a quarter of the evening’s net proceeds — enough to build 10 preschools in Indonesia.

Happy Hearts’ former executive director believes the transaction was a “quid pro quo,” which rerouted donations intended for a small charity with the concrete mission of rebuilding schools after natural disasters to a large foundation with a broader agenda and a budget 100 times bigger.

“The Clinton Foundation had rejected the Happy Hearts Fund invitation more than once, until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then the offer of an honorarium,” said the former executive director, Sue Veres Royal, who held that position at the time of the gala and was dismissed a few weeks later amid conflicts over the gala and other issues.

Press officers for Ms. Nemcova and for the Clinton Foundation said on Thursday that the foundation had not solicited the donation and that the money would be used for projects in Haiti, as yet undetermined.

The Happy Hearts Fund and the Clinton Foundation “have a shared goal of providing meaningful help to Haiti,” the school charity’s spokeswoman said. “We believe that we can create the most impactful change by working together.”

Never publicly disclosed, the episode provides a window into the way the Clinton Foundation relies on the Clintons’ prestige to amass donors large and small, offering the prospect, as described in the foundation’s annual report, of lucrative global connections and participation in a worldwide mission to “unlock human potential” through “the power of creative collaboration.” (bold added)  (snip)

“This is primarily a small but telling example of the way the Clintons operate,” said Doug White, who directs the master’s program in fund-raising management at Columbia University. “The model has responsibility; she paid a high price for a feel-good moment with Bill Clinton. But he was riding the back of this small charity for what? A half-million bucks? I find it — what would be the word? — distasteful.”

Distasteful.  Well, yes that is one way of putting it.   Cheap.  Slimy.  Disgusting.   These are other words I would use.
It gets worse.

In the fall of 2011, many players in Haiti’s rebuilding effort, including Ms. Nemcova, attended the Clinton Global Initiative’s membership meeting in Manhattan. Members, who must be invited, pay $20,000 in annual dues, largely for the yearly gatherings, where charity founders and entrepreneurs get to network with world leaders, corporate executives and wealthy donors

At the meeting, Ms. Nemcova signed a memorandum of understanding with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank to finance schools in Haiti. The development bank has also donated to the Clinton Foundation — just over $1 million — and it partnered with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department after the earthquake to create an industrial park in northern Haiti.

Almost four years after Happy Hearts and the development bank made their commitment, they have yet to complete a single school, partly because of problems finding suitable land. Five schools are under construction.

Happy Hearts collaborated more expeditiously in Haiti with the Digicel Foundation, whose founder, the Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, is a multimillion-dollar supporter of the Clinton Foundation and whose parent telecommunications company benefited from grants from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.

Digicel also made a commitment at the 2011 meeting to build schools; the commitment was a formality, though, as Digicel had already taken the lead in Haiti in that realm. It has built 150 schools there over the last seven years; Happy Heart has built seven, six of them joint or side-by-side ventures with Digicel.

One of those schools, operated by the Haitian group Prodev, was featured in the Clinton Foundation’s most recent annual report as “built through a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.” The Clinton Foundation’s sole direct contribution to the school was a grant for an Earth Day celebration and tree-planting activity. (bold added) (snip)

Further, it is extremely rare for honorees, or their foundations, to be paid from a gala’s proceeds, charity experts said — as it is for the proceeds to be diverted to a different cause. (snip)

In the charity gala world, it is considered unacceptable to spend more than a third of gross proceeds on costs, and better to spend considerably less. If the donation to the Clinton Foundation were counted as a cost, Happy Hearts would have spent 34 percent of its announced $2.5 million in proceeds on its gala.

And how do the beneficiaries feel how the exploitation of their misery is used to enrich the already "dead broke" rich Clintons?  While donors hobnobbed with their Big Name expensive honoree, Haitian-Americans protested outside against the Big Name expensive honoree, holding signs "Down With Clinton Sweatshops in Haiti and calling him a thief while asking “Clinton, where is the money?  In whose pockets?”

Good question.