The already-scandal plagued Clinton Foundation on Friday was hit with a new claim of misbehavior – allegedly setting up payments for the benefit of personal friends of the Clintons, which would be in opposition to federal law governing tax-exempt charitable organizations.
The newest claim of inappropriate actions by the foundation, which already has been accused of taking donations from governments and corporations doing business with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, came in a report in the Wall Street Journal.
It explained how the foundation’s “Global Initiative” designated some $2 million to help a “for-profit company party-owned by Clinton friends.”
“Under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest but instead in the public interest, on broad issues such as education or poverty,” the report said.
The beneficiaries included “a current and a former Democratic official and a close friend of former President Bill Clinton,” the report said.
The report said the $2 million allocation was put on an Initiative agenda at Bill Clinton’s instructions.
“Clinton also personally endorsed the company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant that year, said people with knowledge of the endorsement,” the report said.
The company got at $812,000 Energy Department grant under a plan to insulate people’s homes and let them pay through their utility bills.
The company was founded only a year before it got the grant by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska. The report said Kleeb owns 29 percent, Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y., another 29 percent, and Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Bill Clinton, another 29 percent.
Owning 5 percent each were Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias and Mark Weiner, a supplier to political campaigns and former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, “both longtime friends of the Clintons,” the report said.
The Global Initiative is one branch of the Clinton Foundation, which took in hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, much from countries or corporations that would be affected by Hillary Clinton’s decisions as secretary of state.
But the Internal Revenue Service warns charitable organizations, “The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests.”
Foundation officials told the Journal, “President Clinton has forged an amazing universe of relationships and friendships throughout his life that endure to this day, and many of those individuals and friends are involved in CGI Commitments because they share a passion for making a positive impact in the world. As opposed to a conflict of interest, they share a common interest.”
The report said no comments were available from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Eckert, McMahon and others.
“The journal said Clinton Foundation spokesman, Craig Minassian, called the commitment an instance of “mission-driven investing … in and by for-profit companies.”
He called that a “common practice.”
The $2 million was to be from, the report said, “Kim Samuel, a Canadian academic, philanthropist and a director and owner of the Samuel Group of Companies, which includes steel businesses.”
Her spokesman said she ultimately chose not to give the full $2 million to the for-profit company.
“Following the initial September 2010 announcement and subsequent due diligence, the actual investment was $500,000 made by Ms. Samuel to Energy Pioneer Solutions on July 25, 2011,” her spokesman said.
The report said the commitment appeared on the database of the Clinton Global Initiative for a time, but then was removed.
“The reason was to avoid calling attention to Mr. Clinton’s friendship with one company co-owner, Ms. McMahon, and to protect the integrity of Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal said.
The New York Post described the problem more directly, calling McMahon a “wealthy blond divorcee – who some say is the frequent visitor to [Clinton’s] home nicknamed ‘Energizer.'”
“The fit, blond mother of three, who lives just minutes from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, Westchester, is the daughter of Joel Tauber, a millionaire donor to the Democratic Party,” the Post said. “McMahon, 54, is rumored to be the woman dubbed ‘Energizer’ by the Secret Service at the Clinton home because of her frequent visits, according to RadarOnline.”
WND reported last year on the burgeoning scandals around the Clinton Foundation, including accusations it illegally enriched its namesakes and got politically infused donations from foreign nations and figures – as was not even registered as a charity in Ireland even though the nonprofit has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the island nation.
More recently, State Department investigators subpoenaed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and made sure to include former “special government employee” Huma Abedin in their crosshairs.
State IG spokesman and representatives of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had no comment for the Washington Post after its story broke. At issue are projects the organization engaged in that may have required approval from the federal government prior to going forward.
News of the subpoena further undercut the Democrat candidate’s repeated claims that she never violated a subsection of the Espionage Act related to “gross negligence” in handling government documents during her time as President Obama’s secretary of state. Clinton had said she was “100 percent confident” the FBI’s investigation into her “home brew” email server would turn up no wrongdoing on her part.
Agents are also trying to determine whether co-mingling of the Clinton Foundation and State Department business violated public corruption laws.
Now, the FBI is investigating the email server issue, interviewing associates and aides to Hillary Clinton.