NEW YORK – State regulators should shut down gala fundraisers planned by an organization closely tied to former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, charges Wall Street analyst and investor Charles Ortel.
The American India Foundation, for which Bill Clinton serves as honorary chairman, has fundraisers scheduled in Maryland, Virginia and Illinois, but the organization is not registered in these states as a non-profit with authority to raise tax-deductible charitable donations, Ortel contends.
“In numerous states, it is a criminal felony for an organization holding itself out as a non-profit organization duly authorized to raise tax-deductible charitable donations without first registering in the state as a charity,” Ortel explained to WND.
As WND has reported since last spring, Ortel has concluded through an extensive investigation that the Clinton Foundation has illegally enriched its namesakes, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
As WND reported last week, Ortel believes the American India Foundation has been operating flagrantly in violation of state, federal and foreign laws since inception in 2001.
Ortel said the American India Foundation scandal has implications for the Clinton Foundation scandals because of Bill Clinton’s pivotal role in forming the American India Foundation and his on-going association.
On Nov. 6, AIF plans to hold its Annual Washington, D.C., Gala at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, with Arun Kumar Singh, the Indian ambassador to the United States, scheduled to appear as a special guest.
On Nov. 14, AIF is planning to hold its 10th Annual Chicago Gala at the Chicago Union Station, hosted by John A. Bryant, the chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Company.
A WND search of the Maryland Charities Database maintained by the Maryland secretary of state’s website provided no listing for the American India Foundation. Nor was it found in a search of the charitable organization database on the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Regulatory Programs, Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs website.
In Illinois, a search of the Illinois secretary of state corporate file detail reports provided evidence the American India Foundation had its charitable license in the state revoked twice, the first time May 1, 2003, and the second time Aug. 14, 2015, with both revocations listed for a duration date specified as “Perpetual.”
‘Can’t thank you enough for the honor’
Ortel described the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, as a tony private club with many influential people among its trustees and members.
“Once the registration scandal becomes public, it’s conceivable the Congressional Country Club could get sanctioned for repeated violations of Maryland laws concerning operation of private clubs, all because of hosting the AIF galas,” Ortel said.
He said the government of India will most certainly be unhappy that its U.S. ambassador “will be used to solicit donations illegally for AIF.”
“If the AIF has its authority to operate as a charity revoked retroactively in the United States because of violations of state law, this could create major issues for various related legal entities in India, to say nothing of U.S. foreign relations with India,” Ortel said.
He said the Clinton Foundation purposefully has omitted discussion of Bill Clinton’s prominent role creating AIF early in 2001 and his position as honorary chairman since 2001.
“Trustees and donors to AIF certainly boast of their connections to Clinton all over the world, and likely use the continuing involvement of President Clinton to raise money and project power both inside and outside the United States,” he said.
According to an article posted on the AIF website, the 2014 Washington Gala raised $300,000 and was headlined by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
“This India-America moment is a wonderful one,” Kaine said in his remarks, according to the article posted on the AIF website. “The opportunities for cooperation are significant. And one of the reasons they are significant is because of the amazing power of the Indian American. And, that’s what this room represents.”
According to the AIF report, the Virginia Democrat said he can’t thank AIF “enough for the honor tonight.”
According to the Congressional Country Club website, the club comprising the Chevy Chase and Columbia Country Club golf courses dates back to sponsorship by then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover in 1921.
The Congressional Country Club website further notes: “The Club has a rich history of U.S. Presidents being members or visiting the Club. Presidents Coolidge, Taft, Hoover, Wilson and Harding were lifetime members of the Club. President Eisenhower and his Cabinet regularly retreated to the Club’s greens. In recent times, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton have visited the Club.”
The Congressional Country Club is a private organization that has hosted three U.S. opens and a PGA championship, currently boasting 2,990 members, a staff of 350 employees and annual revenues of $20 million.
Virginia: ‘McAuliffe a problem’
Ortel told WND the Richmond Gala honoring Sam Malhotra, the secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources, was particularly troublesome because of the long-term bond between Bill and Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe, the current governor of Virginia.
“I find no evidence the AIF is registered in Virginia,” Ortel said. “This despite the requirement Virginia shares with other states, demanding a non-profit organization must register in the state before soliciting charitable donations so that authorities have a chance to vet those operating the charity and the fundraising.”
He said the problem in Virginia is “compounded by McAuliffe’s long association and support of Clinton via the Clinton Foundation and the continuing failure of the Clinton Foundation to fully disclose both in audited financial statements and on IRS Form 990 tax reporting, as is required by federal law.”
McAuliffe served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 through 2005, and he was co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential re-election campaign and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
AIF license revoked twice in Illinois
Ortel explained to WND that the Kellogg Foundation, a non-profit charity that continues to hold substantial equity in the Kellogg Company, and the Kellogg Company board of directors could be particularly embarrassed to have John A. Bryant, the chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Company, headline the AIF Chicago Gala.
In describing its ninth Annual Chicago Gala, also held at Union Station, AIF reported that typically “more than 500 business leaders, elected officials, and community thought leaders attend and support AIF’s Benefit and its mission to further social and economic change in India.”
The same AIF announcement said tickets for the 2014 Chicago Gala were $500, with “sponsorship opportunities available,” noting AIF has raised “more than $4.5 million to directly support programs and initiatives to catalyze change in India.”
WND could find no reference on the AIF website to Illinois’ revocation of the group’s charity license in 2003 and again in August of this year.