Only days before signing an ethics agreement with President-elect Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton Foundation officials got a blistering internal review saying the charity “must act immediately to bring the foundation into compliance with the law and standards that govern not-for-profits …”
The review pointed to a high-ranking but unnamed foundation executive who was “being paid by [former President Clinton], the government and the foundation” who “allowed the foundation to host what may have been (or may have been viewed as) a political event, apparently without official pre-approval from the foundation’s legal department and without regard, before the fact, to the impact of that decision on the foundation’s tax exempt status.”
The review report was provided Nov. 10, 2008, to Bruce Lindsey, the long-time Clinton political insider who was then the foundation’s chief executive officer. It was attached to a Nov. 1, 2011, email made public Saturday by Wikileaks from Cheryl Mills to John Podesta, fellow long-time Clinton insiders.
The Clinton Foundation signed the ethics agreement with Obama’s transition office Dec. 12, 2008, as part of the president-elect’s decision to appoint Hillary Clinton as the nation’s chief diplomat. Obama wanted assurance that no conflicts of interest would arise between Clinton’s global work as Secretary of State and the foundation, which had operations in numerous foreign countries.
Mills was then chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while Podesta is Clinton’s national campaign chairman.
It is illegal for tax-exempt non-profit foundations like the Clinton charity to be linked in any fashion with partisan political events as described in the review report.
Charles Ortel, a philanthropy law and accounting expert, told TheDCNF “this foundation had been up for 10 years but here we see their own lawyer telling them they have got to abide by the law. Didn’t they know it already?”
The review was conducted by Kumiki Gibson, a prominent New York lawyer who, according to her resume, “counseled the William J. Clinton Foundation, an international not-for-profit organization, on structural, legal, and compliance issues” from May 2008 until January 2014.
While with the foundation, Gibson claimed on her resume that she “successfully defended the foundation in wage and hour litigation. Conducted wage and hour review. Other work included establishing state-of-the-art policies and procedures in such areas as global code of conduct, human resources, fundraising, and IT.”
Gibson was also an associate of former New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace in March 2008 after it was learned he was a regular client of a prostitution ring that catered to rich and famous celebrities.