The Clinton Foundation said Thursday it will not accept foreign or corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November.
The decision comes amid intensifying scrutiny over the foundation’s practices as Republicans use its connections to wealthy international players to attack Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Bill Clinton also plans to cease giving paid speeches — another move intended to prevent further accusations of cronyism.
Bill Clinton told foundation staff about the decision at a meeting, according to Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian.
Bill Clinton also said the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York next month will be the final CGI meeting, no matter what happens with Hillary Clinton in November.
The decision is an acknowledgment by Bill Clinton that while he wants the work to continue, he understands that it needs to be refocused and retooled should his wife win in November.
The decision was first reported by The Associated Press.
Bill Clinton has also decided not to give paid speeches if Hillary Clinton is elected president, his spokesman, Angel Urena, said Thursday.
The former president has not given a paid speech since November and Urena said the plan is, should Hillary Clinton win, he would not give a paid speech for the entirety of her presidency. Urena added that Bill Clinton will not give any paid speeches between now and Election Day, either.
Fodder for Republicans
The Clinton Foundation’s activity has provided fodder for Republicans who have for months accused Hillary Clinton of pay-to-play schemes, connecting her actions as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state to contributions to the foundation.
This week, State Department officials have faced questions this week about the department’s interest in purchasing land for a US embassy in Lagos from Lebanese-Nigerian businessmen Ronald and Gilbert Chagoury. Gilbert Chagoury has donated more than $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to the foundation’s website, which also notes that The Chagoury Group — run by the brothers — pledged to commit $1 billion to fight coastal erosion.
Over the weekend, former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Clinton supporter, told The New York Daily News the foundation should be disbanded if she’s elected.
“I definitely think if she wins the presidency, they have to disband it. I know it’ll be hard for President (Bill) Clinton because he cares very deeply about what the foundation has done,” Rendell said. “It’d be impossible to keep the foundation open without at least the appearance of a problem.”
And on Tuesday, The Boston Globe published an editorial calling for the foundation to “remove a political — and actual — distraction and stop accepting funding.”
Urena tweeted late Thursday that the Globe’s editorial had “absolutely no bearing” on the foundation’s decision.
A US official also told CNN last week that the FBI and Department of Justice met several months ago to discuss opening a public corruption case into the Clinton Foundation, after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the foundation.
Clinton has yet to address the future of the foundation or her husband’s role in it should she win the White House. At a CNN town hall in June, she told Anderson Cooper, “We’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.”