The Clinton Global Initiative has a curious record of leaving its projects unfinished, despite receiving multiple large donations from foreign interests that could benefit if Hillary Clinton is elected president (and may have already benefited from her service at the State Department).
As the Washington Examiner's Sarah Westwood reported Tuesday, the initiative operates by bringing business executives together and getting them to pledge to specific philanthropic commitments. According to a list posted in the organization's report on Monday, the initiative has completed fewer than half of the commitments made since 2005. Thirty-six percent of them are listed as being "in progress." Many others are listed as "stalled," "unfulfilled," or haven't had any progress reported in at least two years.
This may just be a sign of bad timing or ineffective philanthropy, but when combined with the rest of the information available about the Clintons' philanthropic activities, it hints at something more sinister. During Clinton's time as secretary of state, the foundations accepted a great deal of money in donations from businesses and foreign governments that had a lot to gain from her help.
In one well-known case, a group of Canadian mining magnates made millions in undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian bank closely linked to the Kremlin paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to give a single speech in Moscow. All of these parties involved in funneling money to the Clintons and their enterprises were part of a large mining deal that required approval from a government panel on which Clinton sat. The deal finally did come off, leaving Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency, with control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production.
Clinton may not have had veto power over the deal, but just think — what if she didn't pipe up when it might have been appropriate? She's given Americans every reason to question her motive. This is how conflicts of interest work and why most government officials try to avoid them.
And note that this is hardly the only case in which Clinton accepted money from companies that needed State Department help.
If Clinton wanted to avoid the appearance that she was helping donors — or that one useful way to get needed help from the State Department was to make a donation to her nonprofit (or pay her husband for a speech) — then she should not have accepted money from those over whose interests she simultaneously exercised official power.
When you add to these conflicts of interest the number of uncompleted projects, there is serious cause for concern. Clinton has gone to great pains to deny that the primary purpose of the family's nonprofit work has been the advancement of her family's political fortunes, but the two are so closely intertwined that it's often hard to tell where the one stops and the other begins. If the completion of projects seems unimportant in comparison to the donations, it indicates that the two are at least too close for comfort.
Clinton is fortunate to face an opponent who is melting down in early polls, and who arguably lacks the political discipline that will be required to defeat her. But it's telling that her own numbers have not improved as Donald Trump's have plummeted. Americans don't trust her because she isn't honest, and each time they look she seems to be giving them new reminders of this.