An old guard versus new guard split with serious potential implications for the 2016 presidential campaign appears to be opening inside the political charity juggernaut known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
On the one side are veteran Clinton political operatives like Bruce Lindsey, once described by the Washington Post as "captain of the defense" for the former president during his two terms in the White House. Lindsey is now chairman of the board for the Clinton Foundation, drawing $394,856 in total annual compensation, according to its most recently available tax return.
Lindsey is also listed as a member of the Clinton Health Access Initiative's board of directors and the recipient of $398,159 from a "related organization. A foundation spokesman was not available to explain the apparent disparity in Lindsey's total compensation.
On the other side until recently was Eric Braverman, the young associate of Chelsea Clinton who, according to Politico Magazine's Ken Vogel, was brought in from the McKinsey and Company Consultancy as the foundation's chief executive officer in July 2013 to reform its internal management processes, expand its board of directors and establish an endowment to ensure its long-term financial stability. He replaced Lindsey in the CEO slot.
Braverman's position seemed secure a month ago when the foundation's board extended his tenure through 2017, but then he suddenly resigned. According to Politico, "his exit stemmed partly from a power struggle inside the foundation between and among the coterie of Clinton loyalists who have surrounded the former president for decades and who helped start and run the foundation.
"Some, including the president's old Arkansas lawyer Bruce Lindsey, who preceded Braverman as CEO, raised concerns directly to Bill Clinton about the reforms implemented by Braverman, according to sources, and felt themselves marginalized by the growing influence of Chelsea Clinton and the new CEO she had helped recruit."
During his relatively brief time as the foundation's CEO, Braverman succeeded in establishing a $250 million endowment, but even that accomplishment became a flashpoint between the old and new guards, Politico said, when the funds were "invested with a firm called Summit Rock Advisers where Chelsea Clinton's best friend Nicole Davison Fox is managing director.
"The two were classmates at Sidwell Friends School and Davison Fox interned in the Clinton White House. She later served as matron of honor in Clinton's wedding, and her husband was a founding employee of the hedge fund started by Clinton's husband, Marc Mezvinsky."
Lindsey is only one of the many longtime Clinton political associates who have found lucrative positions with the foundation since the former president founded it in 2001. The name was changed in 2013 to include all three of the most famous Clintons.
Stephanie Streett, the foundation's executive director, for example, was assistant to the president and director of scheduling in the Clinton White House. The scheduling job is one of the most politically sensitive in any presidential administration and is always filled by a trusted insider. She was paid nearly $170,000 annually as executive director, according to the foundation's 2013 tax return.
Maura Pally, who succeeded Braverman as acting CEO, was deputy counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and was a special assistant in the White House Counsel's Office under President Clinton.
Laura Graham, the foundation's senior adviser on global programs, was deputy assistant to President Clinton from 1995 to 2001. Graham was paid more than $183,000 in 2013.
Craig Minassian, the foundation's chief communications officer, was, according to the foundation's website, "assistant press secretary and director of television news in the White House for President Clinton and on numerous presidential campaigns including Clinton/Gore '96 and Secretary Clinton's 2008 campaign, as well as a senior advisor to the Democratic National Convention Committees in 2008 and 2012."
Ira Magaziner, vice-chairman of the foundation's board and CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, was the driving force behind President Clinton's unsuccessful healthcare reform initiative and was senior adviser to the president for policy development. Magaziner was paid nearly $300,000 in total compensation in 2013.
Dennis Cheng, the foundation's recently departed chief development officer, is expected to head Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign fundraising operation and was a fundraiser in her previous campaigns. Cheng was paid more than $236,000 in 2013.
For all the old-time Clinton allies in the foundation, however, the significance of Braverman's tenure, according to Politico, is what it signaled about the growing status and influence of the Clinton's only child.
"Her power now at the foundation cannot be overstated, according to sources with knowledge of its workings, who say no major decisions occur without her input," Politico said.
In a related development Monday, Hillary Clinton's spokesman, Nick Merrill, issued a lengthy list of talking points to her political allies that are designed to counter the recent stories about the foundation's funding and conflicts of interest that may result.
"As you've probably seen reading the stories in the last couple of weeks, there has been little mention of the good work the foundation does, and that it is without a doubt a world-class philanthropy," Merrill said. The talking points claimed the foundation is "responsible for millions of people getting access to life-saving HIV/AIDs treatment, more than 40,000 farmers in Malawi, Tanzania, and Rwanda improving their incomes by more than 500 percent; 33,500 tons of lightgreenhouse gas emissions being reduced annually across the U.S.; supporting the Clinton Global Initiative whose members have made nearly 3,100 Commitments to Action to improving more than 430 million lives around the world and so much more."
The talking points were first reported Monday by The Capital in New York.
Mark Tapscott is executive editor of the Washington Examiner.