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February 19, 2015

Clinton Foundation Defends Taking Foreign Contributions

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation issued a statement Wednesday defending its acceptance of donations from foreign governments amid criticism that Hillary Clinton's prospective presidential campaign makes such gifts ethically questionable, The Wall Street Journal writes. The newspaper previously reported a big jump in foreign fundraising last year, after the foundation lifted a self-imposed ban on such gifts instituted during Ms. Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

The foundation said it "has strong donor integrity and transparency practices that go above and beyond what is required of U.S. charities" and that the foreign donations "are helping improve the lives of millions of people across the world." The Journal estimated that the former first family's charity has raised $48-million from foreign governments since 2001.

Republican groups chided the foundation's foreign fundraising, with one calling on it to restore the ban and return past gifts. A National Journal columnist called the practice "sleazy and stupid" in light of Ms. Clinton's presumed presidential ambitions. The Washington Post reports that foreign governments make up a large slice of the foundation's $1-million-plus donors and that the organization has raised $2-billion overall since 2001 from a network of contributors that substantially overlaps with the Clintons' political support base.