Virtual Voices

Bill and Hillary's donors overlap

Campaign 2008

The New York Times takes a look at Bill Clinton's charity donors and Hillary Clinton's campaign donors, noting that the lists look similar.

The William J. Clinton Foundation has raised over $500 million for issues like AIDS relief, global poverty, childhood obesity and climate change. The Clinton Foundation closely guards its list of donors; but the Times has compiled a list of the first foundation donors based on tax documents, interviews, federal government records, and campaign finance data.

They found that some foundation contributors were friends, but others were under investigation, involved in campaign finance scandals, or had political interests. For instance, two Democratic donors pushed Pres. Clinton to increase Medicare for Puerto Rican hospitals. After they gave hefty contributions to Pres. Clinton's foundation, Clinton proposed increasing Medicare reimbursements for the second time in his presidency. Administration official Jeffrey Farrows said the proposal was unrelated to the donations: "They didn't have to contribute the way they did in order to get our attention."

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The Times also found that the list of Bill Clinton's charity donors and Hillary Clinton's political donors overlaps. Together, early library donors have given over $784,000 to Hillary Clinton's political campaigns. Over two dozen have gathered over $100,000 each for Hillary Clinton. As her campaign moves forward, foundation donations increase.

There are limits on campaign donations (usually surmounted through political action committees and other campaign finance loopholes), but the Clinton Foundation is free to receive unlimited, anonymous and foreign donations. The Foundation is not required to disclose a list of donors, but the Times found that the Saudi royal family, the Kuwait government, and Qatar government have all contributed to the Clinton Foundation.

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