Bill Clinton aides used tax dollars to subsidize foundation, private email support
Bill Clinton’s staff used a decades-old federal government program, originally created to keep former presidents out of the poorhouse, to subsidize his family’s foundation and an associated business, and to support his wife’s private email server, a POLITICO investigation has found.Taxpayer cash was used to buy IT equipment — including servers — housed at the Clinton Foundation, and also to supplement the pay and benefits of several aides now at the center of the email and cash-for-access scandals dogging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
This investigation, which is based on records obtained from the General Services Administration through the Freedom of Information Act, does not reveal anything illegal. But it does offer fresh evidence of how the Clintons blurred the line between their nonprofit foundation, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and the business dealings of Bill Clinton and the couple’s aides.
The thousands of pages of newly uncovered records reveal sometimes granular detail about how Bill Clinton’s representatives directed the spending of taxpayer cash allocated by the GSA under the Former President’s Act.
The Act authorizes the GSA to fund the pensions, correspondence, support staff and travel of ex-presidents. It was passed in 1958 to “maintain the dignity” of the presidency by helping former commanders in chief avoid hard times like those that befell Harry S. Truman. He complained that, without help from Uncle Sam, he would be forced to “go ahead with some contracts to keep ahead of the hounds.”
After leaving the White House “dead broke”, in the words of Hillary Clinton, they quickly raked in tens of millions of dollars from book deals, speaking fees and consulting gigs. At the same time, Bill Clinton was relying on his connections to some of the world’s deepest-pocketed donors, corporations and governments to seed a global philanthropy operationthat overlapped with his consulting work and speaking fees and his wife’s work as secretary of state — and served as a jumping-off point for her presidential campaign.
But even as the Clintons got rich and grew their foundation into a $2 billion organization credited with major victories in the fights against childhood obesity and AIDS — while paying six-figure salaries to top aides — Bill Clinton continued drawing more cash from the Former President’s Act than any other ex-president, according to a POLITICO analysis. The analysis also found that Clinton’s representatives, between 2001, when the Clintons left the White House, and the end of this year, had requested allocations under the Act totaling $16 million. That’s more than any of the other living former presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush — requested during that span.