Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What makes up the "Clinton Foundation"?

One thing I have noticed in discussions of the Clinton family's charities is a lot of disagreement about what is meant when people say the "Clinton Foundation".  As it turns out, there isn't such a single organization.  Typically, the group of charities that bear the Clinton name can be split into two pieces: (1) the Clinton Family Foundation, a private foundation that disburses the family's own charitable giving; and (2) what is typically labeled as the "Clinton Foundation", which consists of the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a public charity, as well as its controlled affiliates.  Here is a depiction of the organizations and their relationships.
As it turns out, much of the confusion about the Clinton charities can be attributed to people incorrectly treating one (or more) of these individual pieces as the Clinton Foundation.  The fact that some pieces file separately with the IRS (form 990) doesn't help with such confusion.  For this reason, it's important to look at the (audited) GAAP financial statements, which consolidate the related entities together.