Op-Ed: The Clinton Foundation and the lies the right tells about it

Posted Sep 17, 2016 by Marcus Hondro
There is a lot of misinformation coming from the right on the Clinton Foundation. They wrongly claim that only a small percentage of its funds get to charities. Their mistake is not knowing what a public charity is, either that or they're simply lying.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appears to be feeling better when she spoke during t...
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appears to be feeling better when she spoke during the Black Women's Agenda's 29th Annual Symposium after being diagnosed with pneumonia
Justin Sullivan, Getty/AFP/File
Attack on Clintons
Many right-wing blogs and other sites along with Donald Trump and Republican officials seek to demonize the Clintons and are misrepresenting the Clinton Foundation to help toward that cause. For example, they say that numbers reveal that in 2014 the Clinton Foundation spent only 5.7 percent of its budget on charitable grants and that the rest did not reach anyone in need.
They are grossly wrong and in fact the Clinton Foundation is statistically getting a higher percentage of the money it raises to those in need than most charity groups. But alt right sites are implying the money goes to employees, the Clintons themselves and their friends. Naturally employees of the foundation are paid a salary (not the Clintons), one commiserate with industry standards.
But no money whatever, none, goes to Bill, Hillary or Chelsea Clinton or any of their friends. found 89 percent of the money collected by the foundation goes to those in need, the rest operating costs; that 89 percent is considered a very high figure and suggests a well-run charity.
Here is an explanation of what the presidential charity does: while it has the word 'foundation' in it, it is not a private foundation per se. It's a public charity. Both do wonderful things but they operate differently.
A private foundation passes on all of the money it raises to charities, which the Clinton Foundation does some of (that's the 5.7 percent), and the charities decide what to do with it.
But most of the work of a public charity like the Clinton Foundation is created 'in-house.' In other words, they themselves are a charity, they set up the processes and do the work to help those groups they are engaged in helping. It takes a lot more effort, staff and funding to do the work of a public charity.
The right appears to either be lying outright or ignorant of what a public charity is, and does; it's likely some of those from the right responsible for the fabrications are unscrupulous, others ignorant, still others a combination of the two. Where Donald Trump fits into all this is debatable but I'd venture he knows the foundation is doing good work. After all, he donated $100,000 to it.
Charity work worldwide
The Clinton Foundation has been lauded worldwide for work such as combating HIV/AIDS in Africa (providing medicine a huge part of that), providing schoolchildren in the U.S. with healthy food choices and contributing to the lives of girls through education and training.
The foundation also contributes efforts to climate change and economic initiatives around the world. Established in 1997, the reach of the foundation has grown wide and it is one of the world's great public charities.
So when 89 percent of the money raised is going to those in need but the alt right is saying only 5.7 percent is, and Donald Trump is calling it a scam (despite his donation) you know there is a massive anti-Clinton campaign afoot. And that campaign, that demonizing of the Clintons, sadly, is showing results.
The New York Times published a story Saturday that notes a majority of people in America do not know what the foundation does. As noted, many think that the Clintons and friends get the money. It is also widely believed that the foundation sets up Clinton speaking engagements, takes care of their finances and gives money to Democratic candidates.
But here's this: the Clinton Foundation does none of that. Again, what it does do is raise money and help people with HIV/AIDS, provide food for schoolchildren who would not otherwise be adequately fed, contribute to the education of girls and support other philanthropic causes such as climate change.
And know this: not all Republicans malign the Clinton Foundation and many have donated to it and fundraised for it. The administration of George Bush Jr. supported the foundation.
Further, Charity Navigator, one of the more respected independent charity watchdogs, has given the foundation extremely high ratings for both its finances and transparency and overall a 94.75 rating out of 100.
Finally, should you think of the Clinton Foundation rather than consider all of the propaganda and misinformation from Donald Trump and the right, consider this instead: more than half of the people worldwide who take drugs to combat HIV/AIDS were helped to get those drugs by the Clinton Foundation.
Say no more.