A congressional effort to force the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Clinton Foundation is gaining momentum.
According to the lawmaker leading the effort, it's because Americans can't understand who made the rules that the charitable group appears to be following.
"They feel as if a different set of rules are in play for them," Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn told the Washington Examiner. Blackburn hails from Tennessee, which is also known as the "Volunteer State."
"We have so many religious organizations and charitable foundations headquartered in Tennessee, and I cannot tell you the number of times they have said to me, 'I don't get this,'" she added. "When you look at Clinton Foundation records that are available, there appears to be coordination between the State Department and the foundation. There was also participation there in America's foreign policy, and we have never had that type of situation.
"Last year, we had four charities in the Knoxville area that were deemed sham charities and shut down," Blackburn said. "My constituents look at me and say, 'OK, this isn't right. Is it favoritism, cronyism, is it a different set of rules, how is it they have the ability to go in and do this and we can't?'
The Clinton Foundation has experienced an array of problems stemming from a lack of transparency over the last several years. In 2013, the Better Business Bureau determined the foundation did not meet "its transparency and accountability requirements." Until December, it was part of a "watch list" on CharityNavigator.com, a website that the FTC encourages consumers to use to distinguish between "sham" charities and legitimate ones.
Those concerns reached a new level in January, when the FBI reportedly began looking into allegations that Hillary Clinton had improperly used government staff during her tenure as secretary of state to perform work at the foundation.
In response, Blackburn has drafted a letter to the FTC asking that the agency review the foundation's practices. "The existence of a federal criminal probe should alarm the commission, which initiates civil actions requiring a lower standard of proof," the letter states.
Since the letter was revealed earlier this month, it has garnered signatures from about a dozen lawmakers, though the list is growing.
"They're just seeking clarity," Blackburn said of her constituents. "If there's been a change in the rules, then how did these changes come about? They want there to be one set of rules, and one way that nonprofits work, and for everyone to be held to the same standard."