The Clinton Foundation has confirmed that it always was what we and many others said it was.
Its latest tax filing declared that the Clinton Global Initiative is closing its offices and sacking 22 staff. This comes amid reports that donations dried up after Hillary Clinton lost the election November 8.
It was always obvious that the Clinton Foundation was not simply a charity. As Hillary's opponents but also neutral observers discerned, Hillary was a coin-operated policymaker and the Clinton Foundation and CGI were toll collectors for access to her State Department and a future Clinton administration.
The CGI was innovative and quite unlike a normal charity that takes donations and uses them to dole out grants or do good works. Instead, the theory was that it would be the locus of meetings and connections among big business organizatiions that wanted, for example, to alleviate drought in Africa or help educate women in Asia.
There was a big gap, however, between theory and practice. Most of CGI's undertakings were not completed, according to the organization's own report.
CGI wasn't really delivering financial education to Haitian youth, to take another example, but selling access to the Clintons and siphoning money from the coffers of the corporations meeting at the CGI, enriching the Clintons and their friends.
Businesses would pay big bucks to sit at the CGI table — a small price in exchange for intimate access to the Secretary of State's husband, daughter, and longtime advisors and aides.
CGI's founder was Doug Band, described by the Atlantic as "the man at the center of Bill Clinton, Inc." He also served as a middle-man for lucrative speeches by the former president to corporations and foreign entities, and he launched a private consulting firm called Teneo, which allowed him and the Clintons to enrich themselves more directly.
There were no real dividing lines between the Clintons' official capacities, their campaigns, their friends' sketchy consulting firms, and the foundation. Hillary confidante Huma Abedin simultaneously worked for the Clinton Foundation, the State Department, and Teneo.
The Foundation had announced before the election that it would shut down CGI in the coming months, but the decision do so is nevertheless revealing, for the Clintons often change their minds.
Shutting down CGI made sense if Clinton had won the presidency; its conflicts of interest would have been too glaring even for her. But if CGI had actually been doing what the Clintons and their defenders said, there would be no conflict of interest if it had continued its work after her defeat. If President Trump withdraws the U.S. somewhat more from engagement with the rest of the world, as he suggests he will — he has cast doubt on the merits of foreign aid — shouldn't the CGI be in more demand than ever before? Hillary and Bill also have a lot more free time now. Couldn't they really get down to their charity work?
But shutting down CGI makes sense if it was really just a fancy way of charging people and governments high admission prices to sit with Hillary and her friends. Now that Clinton is in the political wilderness, she controls no taxpayer dollars, policy, federal regulatory cudgels, mandates, or the bully pulpit. No one has any reason to give it money for access it cannot any longer supply.
The correlation between Clinton State Department actions and Teneo clients, CGI members, Clinton Foundation donors, and Bill Clinton's paid speeches is a scandal of the Obama presidency.
The corruption and appearances of impropriety introduced by CGI and the Clinton Foundation ought to be a warning to Donald Trump. The ethics plan Trump rolled out last week sounded eerily familiar.
Just like the Clinton Foundation, Trump plans to appoint an ethics specialist to vet conflicts of interest. Just like Clinton Foundation, Trump has forsworn new deals with foreign entities, while preserving current arrangements. And just like the CGI and the Foundation, Trump has put close family members in charge of his businesses, and pinky promised he would be totally removed from operations.
What was going on within Clinton Inc. stank. It was odious and repelled the nation. We hope the incoming adminstration realizes that such fetid arrangements are unworthy of people who hold high public office, and are likely to do them irreparable political harm. Hillary Clinton still, therefore, has one use. She shows what happens to pols when they corruptly mingle their public duties with personal enrichment, She is thus is a memento mori for Trump.