IRS investigators should dig into the millions of dollars of unresolved reporting disparities on exactly how much money Australian government agencies shoveled into the Clinton Foundation, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tells The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Clinton Foundation listings include contributions from the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian Agency for International Development in a range between totals of $20 million and $50 million. The foundation does not provide the date of the contributions.
Even with the highest number — $50 million — in the range, however, there is a disparity of as much as $39 million with reports from the Australian government. Using the foundation’s lowest number of $20 million, the disparity could be as much as $68 million.
A September 22, 2014, statement by Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said that “since 2006, Australia has contributed $88 million to [the Clinton Health Access Initiative] and its sister organization, the Clinton Foundation.”
The $88 million figure Bishop claimed was contradicted earlier this week when Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released documents under that nation’s Freedom of Information laws. The documents included a listing of 11 separate grants to the Clinton Foundation, its HIV/AIDS, CHAI and a “China Clinton Foundation” that totaled almost $71 million.
The disparity prompted Blackburn, vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to tell TheDCNF that “reports have shown that the Clinton Foundation has failed to accurately report tens of millions of dollars in foreign government grants, including some while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.”
Blackburn said she first raised the issue with the IRS in a May 2015 letter to the federal tax agency’s chief, John Koskinen. Earlier this week, Koskinen told Blackburn that he had asked the IRS exempt organizations division to determine whether the Clinton Foundation uses a “pay-to-play” strategy in its operations.
Koskinen was responding to a July 15, 2016, letter carrying the signatures of Blackburn and 64 other Republican members of the House of Representatives.
“This should be troubling to all Americans as it gives the appearance that there could be a pay-to-play arrangement between the Clintons and foreign governments while the interests of the American people were pushed aside. The tax-exempt status of the foundation should be reviewed immediately,” Blackburn told TheDCNF.
A variety of factors complicate resolving disparities, including the lack of precise dates and amounts in the Foundation’s published donor tallies, the variability in the official exchange rate between U.S. and Australian currency and uncertainty about the reliability of the foundation’s tax returns and consolidated financial statements. (RELATED: “Clinton Foundation Auditor Has Troubled Regulatory History”)
Further complicating efforts to resolve multi-million dollar disparities is the foundation’s longstanding failure to observe ‘good governance’ practices recommended by non-profit experts. (RELATED: “Clinton Foundation Ignored All Best Practices For ‘Good Governance”)
A related issue concerns whether the Clinton Foundation complied with longstanding tax rules that require an exempt non-profit to get prior approval from the IRS for changes in its charitable purpose. The foundation was granted IRS exemption for the purpose of building and operating former President Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Arkansas.
Charles Ortel, a non-profit accounting expert, contends the foundation lacks IRS approval for overseas activities.
“The Clinton Foundation provides no credible evidence on its website (principle interface w the public) that it lawfully obtained clearance from the IRS to pursue international activities of any kind,” Oretel told TheDCNF.
“It also provides no consistent evidence concerning the extent of its foreign operations, or the financial consequences of these activities.
“Regarding Australia, the Clinton Foundation does not explain how much money it sourced from the Australian government, how it spent these sums, whether it registered lawfully to solicit inside Australia, and whether it registered in nations including China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea, to deploy donations from Australia and other donors in these places.”
A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.
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