Blackburn: Clinton Foundation’s issues of fairness, accountability must be addressed

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) determination that it doesn’t have the authority to investigate allegations made against the Clinton Foundation “inadequate” on Monday.

“The FTC’s response is inadequate,” Blackburn said. “The lack of transparency by the Clinton Foundation raises issues of deception and false claims. This is an issue of fairness and accountability that needs to be addressed.”

Blackburn led a group of 64 legislators in July who called for the FTC, FBI and IRS to investigate allegations that the Clinton Foundation is a “pay to play” entity that operates under the guise of philanthropy.

The July letter to the heads of the FTC, FBI and IRS said that the Clinton Foundation’s initial tax filings for non-profit status list constructing a library, maintaining a historical site, and engaging in study and research.

“No mention is made of conducting activities outside the United States, which is one of the codes included in the IRS ‘Application for Recognition of Exemption’ in effect at that time,” the letter said. “As a result, the foundation’s global initiatives appear to be unlawful pursuant to IRS guidance.”

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez responded to the letter on Aug. 5, saying that the claims “appear to fall outside of the commission’s authority, which encompasses neither public corruption nor tax laws.”

Blackburn said that the FTC’s website encourages the public to review the trustworthiness of charities using tools such as Charity Navigator.

“Incredibly, Charity Navigator had the foundation on a ‘watch list’ until December 2015 and is unable to rate the foundation because of its ‘atypical business model,’” Blackburn said. “The Better Business Bureau determined in 2013 that the foundation did not meet ‘its transparency and accountability requirements.’ Media reports advised that only ’15 percent of monies spent went towards direct program expenditures’ at the Foundation in 2013. When a charity operates as a criminal enterprise it is on its face a ‘sham charity.’ The Clinton Foundation’s practices are blatantly deceptive. These allegations are very serious and should be thoroughly vetted.”

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