Elsewhere online
May 11, 2015

Clinton Foundation Battles Charity Navigator on Designation

The Clinton Foundation has waged a behind-the-scenes campaign to persuade Charity Navigator to remove the embattled foundation from its "watch list," according to New York magazine. The watchdog group, which ranks more than 8,000 nonprofits on issues such as transparency and fiscal management, put the foundation on the list in March amid press coverage of its fundraising from foreign governments and corporations during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state and of purported internal strife.

Foundation leaders have unsuccessfully sought to meet with Charity Navigator about lifting the designation, saying the organization has been unfairly targeted without credible evidence of wrongdoing. Charity Navigator says the foundation has sought special treatment and refused an offer to rebut the controversial points on the watchdog's Web site. "They felt they were of such importance that we should deviate from our normal process," said former Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger, who left the group last month.

A detailed picture of Clinton Foundation fundraising from government bodies both foreign and domestic during Ms. Clinton's time at the State Department has yet to emerge, Reuters writes.

Acting CEO Maura Pally acknowledged in late April that the foundation erred in not breaking out grants from governments in recent tax filings, but she suggested such information could be found in audited financial statements on its Web site. However, the online statements do not separate out government grants, instead combining them with unspecified gifts from private organizations, which foundation officials told Reuters is in line with generally accepted accounting principles.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on Charity Navigator's plan to expand and efforts to confront critics of its approach to assessing nonprofits.