Mo Brooks calls for inquiry into Clinton Foundation contributions

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U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, from Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, issued a call for an Internal Revenue Service review of financial contributions to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that Brooks says inappropriately handled donations from foreign nationals while Mrs. Clinton was U.S. Secretary of State.

Brooks also joined Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn in penning a letter to the IRS urging their attention to the matter, which surfaced among revelations that Clinton allegedly sometimes used a private email account for state business.

“I am pleased to join my colleague Marsha Blackburn in calling on the IRS to conduct a timely review of the Foundation’s tax-exempt status and shed light on these reports,” Brooks said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “As a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, we owe it to the American people to ensure the Clinton Foundation is acting within the scope of its charitable mission.”

“An IRS investigation of the Clinton Foundation is a prudent first step,” Brooks continued. “I also support hoped-for steps two and three, a Congressional inquiry coupled with an investigation by the United States Justice Department.”

The letter co-signed by Brooks is addressed to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. It details allegations against the Clinton group and implores the agency to take action by beginning a probe into possible abuses of tax-exempt status.

“…recent media reports have revealed that the Foundation failed to report millions of dollars in grants from foreign governments that it accepted while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and that it facilitated private business transactions between foreign entities. As a result, given the substantial public interest involved, we feel a prompt review of the Foundation’s tax-exempt status is appropriate to determine whether it is acting within the scope of its charitable mission,” the letter reads.

The full text of the Blackburn-Brooks letter is below:

Dear Honorable Koskinen:

We write to ask that you review the tax-exempt status of the Clinton Foundation (hereinafter “the Foundation”).  The Foundation maintains that “The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.”  However, recent media reports have revealed that the Foundation failed to report millions of dollars in grants from foreign governments that it accepted while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and that it facilitated private business transactions between foreign entities. As a result, given the substantial public interest involved, we feel a prompt review of the Foundation’s tax-exempt status is appropriate to determine whether it is acting within the scope of its charitable mission.

First, the Foundation is required to annually file a form 990 series return with the IRS listing foreign contributions.  Unfortunately, the Foundation failed to report tens of millions of dollars in foreign government grants between 2010 and 2012.  Foundation Acting CEO Maura Pally admitted in an April 26th blog post that “…our error was that government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations.”  Former President Clinton recently added that “people re-file their taxes all the time” and that the omissions were “just an accident”.  However, the Foundation apparently did report such information prior to 2010. The Foundation’s failure to report the donations is problematic and deserves enhanced scrutiny given Mrs. Clinton’s position as Secretary of State at the time.

Second, former President Clinton and Canadian businessman Frank Giustra currently serve as board members of the Foundation. An article titled “The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada” appeared in the Washington Post on May 3rd and details their relationship.  The article notes that Giustra has donatedover $100 million dollars to the Foundation since 2005 and that “Clinton has also gained regular transportation, borrowing Giustra’s plane 26 times for foundation business since 2005, including 13 trips in which the two men traveled together.” The Post adds that Giustra “closed some of the biggest deals of his career in the same countries where he traveled with Clinton.”  Giustra joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2013.  The nexus between the Foundation and Giustra’s business ventures is unusual and raises a question as to whether Foundation activities were used as a pre-text to allow Giustra to gain access to foreign individuals or entities with a stake in his private business interests.

Given these widely reported allegations, we believe a review of the appropriateness of the Foundation’s tax-exempt status is necessary.  Proceeding under the cloak of philanthropy, the Foundation appears to have facilitated major private business transactions between foreign entities and also failed to report substantial foreign donations during Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.  These actions have created an appearance of impropriety and go behind the Foundation’s pledge to act primarily in furtherance of charitable causes for which it was granted tax-exempt status.

Thank you.  We look forward to your prompt review.

 

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