by James Rosen, McClatchy Washington Bureau
A philanthropy oversight group says the Clinton Foundation is more transparent than the Trump Foundation in providing detailed information about its recipients and activities.
While the Trump Foundation appears to meet the letter of Internal Revenue Service disclosure law, the Clinton Foundation has received Guidestar’s “Platinum Seal,” the highest transparency ranking, indicating the nonprofit is providing more information than legally required.
Guidestar, a Virginia nonprofit group, collects and organizes information on philanthropic organizations and shares it in its online database.
During the presidential campaign, both foundations have become political liabilities for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“The two organizations reflect the perceived styles of the two candidates: one systematized, the other improvisational,” Guidestar said Wednesday.
Jacob Harold, the Guidestar CEO, said his group had analyzed the “structure, size, strategy and transparency practices” in response to numerous questions about the foundations — not as a partisan act.
“Guidestar takes no position on elections, and we will not comment on Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as candidates for the presidency,” the analysis said.
Harold said the Clinton Foundation had voluntarily provided detailed information to Guidestar while the Trump Foundation had given none despite repeated requests. Guidestar based its analysis of the Trump Foundation on the group’s annual IRS filings, which are required for all nonprofit organizations.
“Imagine you’re walking down the street, you see a homeless person and you feel inspired to give them 20 bucks,” Harold told McClatchy. “That’s the Trump Foundation. Or imagine you sit down with officials in a city and come up with a plan to address the root causes of homelessness. That’s the Clinton Foundation.”
He added: “It’s intentional vs. inspired at the moment. One gets a sense that in a particular moment Donald Trump is inspired by an issue or more likely a person he’s talking to, so he makes a gift in that moment.”
The Clinton Foundation has defined goals around promoting global health, addressing climate change and helping to empower poor women and girls, Harold said.
The Trump Foundation, by contrast, appears to be more scattershot in its causes and the people it chooses to help, he said.
Despite other differences, one trait the Trump and Clinton foundations share is that they are “celebrity foundations,” Harold wrote in his analysis.
“At their worst, celebrity foundations are vanity projects with negligible impact,” Harold wrote. “At their best, such organizations channel fragmented resources and yield extraordinary impact for society.”
Clinton has been challenged on her relationship with the Clinton Foundation, originally established by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Her emails, made public as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests, suggested that some employees of the foundation sought to give donors special access to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State.
Clinton has denied providing special access to donors while she held the top diplomatic post or even knowing about the foundation employees’ emails.
The foundation also accepted large donations from foreign governments while she was secretary of State. Bill Clinton said last month that the foundation would stop accepting foreign or corporate donations if his wife became president and that he would step down from the board.
The Washington Post and other news organizations have reported that Trump used his foundation’s money to settle lawsuits and that the foundation made a questionable campaign contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while her office was weighing a probe of Trump University.
Miller also said Tuesday that the Post reports were “peppered with inaccuracies.” He accused the Post of “distracting attention away from the corrupt Clinton Foundation, a vehicle for the Clintons to peddle influence at the expense of the American people.” [READ MORE]