Hillary and Bill Clinton embrace on stage after the Iowa caucuses, joined by their daughter, Chelsea Clinton. While the ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state draw scrutiny, Chelsea Clinton said she will remain on the foundation board to help oversee its dramatic reduction if her mother becomes president. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Chelsea Clinton will remain on the board of her family's charitable foundation -- scrutinized for its ties to the State Department when Hillary Clinton was secretary -- even if her mother becomes president, a spokesman said Wednesday.
In response to reports suggesting that donors to the Clinton Foundation were granted greater access to the State Department during her tenure, the foundation announced some changes in the event that Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. The foundation would shrink its operations, "spin off" all foreign endeavors and stop taking donations from foreign individuals and foreign governments.
Former President Bill Clinton, who founded the organization after leaving office and has overseen its growth into one of the world's largest charitable organizations, said he would step down from the board and stop raising money for it. The charity reported $439 million in assets in 2014.
Prior to becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton stepped down from the foundation and pledged to discontinue working on its behalf in order to avoid creating a conflict of interest. But recent emails written by her and several top aides, made public by a conservative group suing the State Department, show close ties between the foundation and her inner circle.
Last week, correspondence released by the group Judicial Watch showed Douglas Band, a Clinton Foundation lawyer, seeking to put a top donor in contact with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. Subsequent emails showed Band working with Clinton's staff to get another unnamed foundation associate a job at the State Department. In another instance, Band was rebuffed when he asked Clinton aide Huma Abedin to intervene to resolve a British soccer player's visa application, which was denied due to pending criminal charges. The soccer player's club owner was a Clinton Foundation donor.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that more than half of Hillary Clinton's non-governmental meetings over her first two years in office went to Clinton Foundation donors. The report was based on an analysis of Clinton's personal calendar and call logs.
Clinton's campaign called the report "outrageous" and a "cherry-picking" of Clinton's schedule to make it appear as though she was preoccupied with helping donors.
Foundation President Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary in the Bill Clinton administration, said the group will vastly shrink its size and scope if Hillary Clinton wins the election. The foundation is actively seeking partner organizations to take on its myriad global philanthropic and public health projects.
Shalala told NPR on Tuesday that once the foundation finds other agencies to assume responsibility for the various foreign programs, it will have no role in their continuing operation.
A spokeswoman for Chelsea Clinton told the Wall Street Journal she "is committed to ensuring that those benefiting from the foundation's work will be able to continue receiving that often-life-changing help."
Chelsea Clinton said she would remain on the board to "steward the implementation of changes" including instituting "new fundraising policies."