Clinton responds to questions about foundation
August 16th, 2013
05:15 PM ET
11 months ago

Clinton responds to questions about foundation

(CNN) – Taking issue with a New York Times report this week on the financial health of the Clinton Foundation, former President Bill Clinton on Friday released an open letter explaining why the organization ran multi-million dollar deficits in 2007 and 2012.

"The reporting requirements on our tax forms, called 990s, can be misleading as to what is actually going on," he wrote in the letter posted on the foundation's website. "Here's why."

The letter went on to explain that when an individual makes a multi-year commitment to the foundation, which is now named The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, they are required to report the entirety of the committed contribution in the year it was made.

For example, he writes, the foundation reported a surplus of more than $102 million in 2005 and 2006 as a result of multi-year commitments, "though we collected nowhere near that."

"In later years, as the money came in to cover our budgets, we were required to report the spending but not the cash inflow," he continued.

At the same time, if an individual makes a commitment that cannot be carried out, the foundation is required to report that as a loss, even though the foundation didn't have that money in the first place or need it to meet the budget, Clinton writes.

"In other words, for any foundation with a substantial number of multi-year commitments, the 990s will often indicate that we have more or less money than is actually in our accounts," he writes.

The New York Times reported the foundation ran deficits of $40 million in 2007 and $8 million in 2012.

Clinton acknowledged the foundation was hit by the economic recession in 2007 but said the $8 million figure for last year is "incorrect" because it was based on "unaudited numbers" from the 2012 annual report.

"When the audited financials are released, they will show a surplus," he writes.

Founded in 2001, the organization focuses on international development and global health initiatives. Since leaving her role as U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has had a larger presence in the foundation this year.

In the open letter, Bill Clinton writes that in 2011, the organization started re-tailoring its operations to make the foundation more efficient. That includes a move to consolidate the foundation's offices into one primary headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

The New York Times reported extensively on the 2011 review that spurred the foundation to make several changes, citing internal tension between the Clintons' political and philanthropic ambitions as a key cause of concern.

While Clinton details management and operation changes in the letter, he does not specifically address some of the questions raised in the Times report about the family dynamics. Overall, he says the foundation is "in a good position."

"We are in the process of appointing a larger, more independent board and we need an endowment, which our family and friends are working to raise," he writes.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Chelsea Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    The power of the GOP is astounding.

    August 16, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Richard Long

    The Clinton Foundation was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, yet were running multimillion deficits? Just wait and see if Hillary gets a hold of the US's budget...

    August 16, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    Richard Long

    The Clinton Foundation was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, yet were running multimillion deficits? Just wait and see if Hillary gets a hold of the US's budget...
    August 16, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Did you even read the article or just scrolled down to post your ignorance?

    August 16, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Once again, there's an explanation that's too complex for the Teatrolls to understand, so they'll keep on with the partisan jabberwocky and conspiracy mumbo jumbo anyway on the theory that most people won't understand enough of it to see through the misinformation, so they're ripe to be exploited.

    August 16, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Just a thought

    As usual we will see the criticism of the former president in order to rationalize that Hillary is unfit for office...just wait...in 3,2,1 fire away TPer's

    August 16, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    GOP is off from the map. They are brainless and contakerous.

    August 16, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Running Hillary's campaign office from a charity, is going to be another highly questionable activity for that charity. The stench of corruption is strong.

    August 16, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. rs

    I find it very funny the GOP is making any noise on this at all.... meanwhile still no revelations on Mr. Romney's Cayman Island, ... er.... U.S. tax returns.

    August 16, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Amazing

    As an accountant and board member of several non-profits, the explanation given by Clinton is correct and consistent with GAAP. If I make a pledge to donate $500,000 over 5 years, all the revenue from the pledge is recognized in year 1. If in year 3, I decide I can't fulfill the pledge the non-profit would write off the remaining pledge in year 3. Given the impact of the financial crisis, it is not unreasonable for his foundation to have run deficits. Another example of the media hyping a non issue except this time it was from the left.

    August 17, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Thomas

    Mr .Bill , President Ego .

    August 17, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |