Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year — $1 million of which went to their own family non-profit, the Clinton Family Foundation.

96 percent of the roughly one million dollars given to charity by Bill and Hillary Clinton in 2015 was given to the Clinton Family Foundation, a tax-exempt charity controlled by the Clintons.

Are these claims true? Does that mean it didn't go to charity?

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    They are distinct claims: Hillary Clinton's donations to the Clinton Foundation in your links, and the Clinton Foundation's grants to other charities such as dailycaller.com/2016/09/16/… (on the second point, the Clinton Foundation says "The Clinton Foundation is an operating foundation. The money raised by the Foundation is spent directly on our programs, and not as grants to other charitable organizations." at clintonfoundation.org/about )
    – Henry
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 16:04
  • They're a little intertwined, because the mediaite piece links a piece of key evidence to the dailycaller piece, which has that correction.
    – rougon
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 16:13
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    I don't really understand what the controversy is over this. Surely when people set up a foundation, the whole point is so that they can put their charitable donations through it and have full-time professionals employed by the foundation evaluate which 3rd party charitable projects are the best ones to fund? That's just what foundations do. The only surprising thing here is the 4% that wasn't trusted to the professional charity experts. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 14:38
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    @user568458 The insinuation in right-wing blogs (not particularly well captured in the current wording and quotes) is that the Clintons are claiming to donate money to charity but actually using it themselves. For an example that makes this accusation more directly check out rightwingnews.com/hillary-clinton-2/…
    – IMSoP
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 18:12
  • @user568458 The other 4% goes to Desert Classic Charities which runs a celebrity golf tournament that the Clinton Foundation is a regular contributor to, so I'd guess that the direct donation has some beneficial tax advantage for the involved parties instead of just depositing more than $1 million into the Clinton Family Foundation to them move to Desert Classic Charities.
    – Jimmy M.
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


96% of donations went to the Clinton Family Foundation, not the Clinton Foundation, and this is an important distinction. Both of the articles you link carry corrections to this effect, but this article goes into more detail about why it matters in the context of a Wall Street Journal article carrying the same claim (I can't verify whether the WSJ have issued a correction, because the article is behind a paywall).

The organisation commonly called the Clinton Foundation, officially the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, is a charity in its own right, with many donors. It largely carries out initiatives independent of any other charity. Its own FAQs go into more detail. It has sometimes been the subject of controversy (many charities are), but it is not the subject of this particular "revelation".

The Clinton Family Foundation, on the other hand, is a clearing house, which organises most of the donations the Clintons make on their behalf. This is not unusual, and can be thought of as like having a separate bank account for money you plan to donate. The actual money donated to the Clinton Family Foundation is then donated, on behalf of the Clintons, to many different charities. It is not at all surprising to find that it received 96% of her donations, since that is its purpose — to act as a clearing house for donating them to the appropriate charities.

According to the Daily Caller article you cite, in 2014 the Clinton Family Foundation donated — on behalf of the Clinton family — $1.87 million to the Clinton Foundation, out of a total of $3 million. If we take that proportion as representative of how much Hillary gave, it amounts to roughly 60%, not 96%.

To the second question, "could you consider this to be 96% (or even 60%) that did not go to charity?", the answer is a simple "no", since the Clinton Foundation is recognised as a charity.

Regarding the claim that she donated to "a charity she controls", the Clinton Family Foundation is controlled entirely by the Clinton family (this form linked in Abedin's answer lists Bill as President, Hillary as Secretary/Treasurer, and Chelsea as Director). Again, this is in keeping with its role as a vehicle to manage their donations. They are also on the board of the Clinton Foundation but do not have sole control. So they controlled the fact that the Clinton Family Foundation passed on 60% of their donations to the Clinton Foundation, and have some say in what the Clinton Foundation does with that (and other people's) money, within its established framework.

  • Sorry, I edited the question. The "Clinton Foundation" claim wasn't notable as both sources corrected the error. This means you answer needs a tweak too.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 16:40
  • 22
    @Oddthinking I think your edit goes too far, substantially changing the question after answers had already been received. Both sources had previously made the claim, and clearly imply that they consider this a controversial donation. The WSJ article allegedly also makes the claim, although I can't access it. Does partially retracting a claim render it non-notable? If this question had been asked before the corrections, would it have become invalid when the articles were changed?
    – IMSoP
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 16:51
  • 1
    As per the new quotes in the answer, the answer now becomes factually "no," as the Clintons do not control the Clinton Family Foundation.
    – rougon
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 17:31
  • 2
    @IMSoP: It's a tough one. I try to avoid invalidating answers like this, because it is unfair on the answerer. However, if no-one is making the claim any more, what good are we doing? We wouldn't allow "Does Phlogiston exist?" as it isn't notable. Shall we take this to meta?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 1:25
  • 7
    @Oddthinking - not to be too jaded, but since when, in politics, and with the Clinton's specifically, did retracting or debunking a claim mean that it won't be repeated as fact into perpetuity? The answer is valid and remains relevant, because the claim, having been originally made, will be around and repeated in much wider circulation than the fact that either source made a correction or retraction. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 16:35

In 2015, Hillary and Bill Clinton claimed $1,042,000 of contributions to charity. $1,000,000 of that (or 96%) was to the Clinton Family Foundation (Statement 4 of their 2015 tax return). In 2014, the Clinton Family Foundation gave about 1.9 million to the Clinton Foundation. That was about half of what the Clinton Family Foundation gave across all charities in 2014. Their Form 1040 shows this breakdown of the Clinton Family Foundations disbursements to the Clinton Foundation and a wide variety of other charities.

David Fahrenthold, interviewed by Kelly McEvers on NPR's All Things Considered, said:

The expectation with family foundations is that if your name is on the foundation, unless you're dead, it's your money that's being given away. And even if you are dead, it was your money before.

The Clinton Foundation (the "Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation") is registered with the IRS as a public charity (IRS Manual 4.76.3 and Form 990 at p. 40 of the 2014 Clinton Foundation Public Report).

Charity Navigator, an "independent charity watchdog organization", gives the Clinton Foundation a rating of four stars (which is the highest rating, based on a score of 94.74 out of 100).

  • 6
    Your username suggests you might not be impartial on this subject. Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 22:38
  • 38
    On the internet, you can call yourself "Fido" if you want. The answer should be considered on its own merits. If Huma Abedin really wanted to astroturf here, why on earth would she have used her real name? On the other hand, if the answer is factual, addresses the claims in the question, and uses proper citations, what difference does it make who posted it?
    – jscs
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 1:02
  • 6
    "Consider the source" is basic skepticism. A newly-created account, unlinked to other SEs, whose only activity is to refute a charge against a political candidate and whose username is the same as that candidate's closest advisor suggests bias in favor of that candidate even if the user isn't actually the advisor. Prudence would seem to call for greater scrutiny of citations and alertness for contradictory evidence than in the general case. Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 23:17
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    @GhillieDhu “‘Consider the source’ is basic skepticism” — that only works if the sources tell us anything useful. As per Josh, this isn’t really the case when the source can hide themselves behind a pseudonym. That is to say: you should apply the same amount of scepticism even if the source seems neutral — because in fact you have no idea whether it’s neutral. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:03
  • 12
    Haha! It's a false flag action by a Trump supporter to make it look like Hillary advisers are answering questions about Hillary on stackexchange. A devilish plot.
    – ASA
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:12

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