Should Hillary Clinton shutter her foundation in the lead-up to the general election in November? Plenty of conservatives undoubtedly think so, but earlier this week the mostly liberal Boston Globe offered a compelling case for a Clinton Foundation shutdown.
In an editorial published Tuesday, the paper praised the foundation for its good work, particularly its Haiti relief and global health efforts, while acknowledging the bad—funding from foreign governments, subsidized paychecks for Clinton staffers, etc.
It's a measured look at a foundation that is too often been painted in broad strokes of black and white. And it reaches a conclusion that's hard to disagree with, no matter your political leanings: The Clinton Foundation has become a liability for the presidential hopeful. Via The Boston Globe:
The inherent conflict of interest was obvious when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. She promised to maintain a separation between her official work and the foundation, but recently released emails written by staffers during her State Department tenure make clear that the supposed partition was far from impregnable. That was bad enough at state; if the Clinton Foundation continues to cash checks from foreign governments and other individuals seeking to ingratiate themselves with a President Hillary Clinton, it would be unacceptable.
Winding down the foundation, and transferring its assets to some other established charity, doesn’t have to hurt charitable efforts. If the foundation’s donors are truly motivated by altruism, and not by the lure of access to the Clintons, then surely they can find other ways to support the foundation’s goals.
Now, there's almost no shot this happens. In June, Bill Clinton hinted at upcoming changes to the foundation. On Thursday, the former president revealed those plans—and they don't include a shutdown.
The Associated Press reported that Bill Clinton, in a meeting with Clinton Foundation staff members, announced that the foundation would no longer take foreign and corporate donations. He also said the foundation would "refocus its efforts," and that he would resign from the board. All this, of course, is contingent on Hillary Clinton winning the election.
Is it enough? In announcing the changes, the Clintons have more or less admitted that their foundation has some serious flaws. But making those changes dependent on a President Hillary Clinton undermines their sincerity. If the proposed changes are good and necessary—as many believe they are—why not make them regardless of the election results?
Otherwise, it seems like a hollow gesture—and one unlikely to sway critics.