Bill Clinton releases donor list

Foundation raised millions from moguls, foreign states

December 19, 2008|By Dan Morain and Andrew Zajac | Dan Morain and Andrew Zajac,Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Hoping to allay conflict-of-interest concerns as his wife prepares to become secretary of state, former President Bill Clinton yesterdayreleased a donor list that showed he had raised as much as $131 million from foreign governments - including Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Norway - for the William J. Clinton Foundation.

More than 200,000 patrons who had given a combined $500 million to his foundation since its inception in 1997 were identified by name only.

The disclosures reveal a veiled world of international intrigue with a charitable goal but a cast of characters that includes countries, companies and individuals with vital and sometimes less than altruistic interests in U.S. foreign policy.

Many top donors include staunch campaign supporters of the Clintons, including Los Angeles entertainment mogul Haim Saban, a backer of Israel.

The foundation also took in millions from foreign nationals, domestic and foreign corporations and government entities, which by law could not give to the Clintons' political campaigns. High-rollers giving between $1 million and $5 million include the Sultanate of Oman, Brunei, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, Qatar and Kuwait.

When President-elect Obama selected Sen. Clinton as his secretary of state, he made it clear that President Clinton would have to fully disclose names of the donors to his foundation. In a statement issued late yesterday, Obama said the disclosure "meets our goals of transparency and goes above and beyond in preventing conflicts."

The donor list includes several contributions from businesses and individuals from India or with strong ties to that country. Steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, gave between $1 million and $5 million; Suzlon Energy Ltd., gave in a similar range; and the Confederation of Indian Industry donated $500,000 to $1 million.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy brushed aside any worry about Clinton's ability to serve as an honest broker between his country and India.

"It does not cause concern. This has to do with charity and not with politics," said Nadeem Haider Kiani.

The two biggest donors, each giving more than $25 million, were the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, a London philanthropy founded by hedge fund operator Chris Hohn, and UNITAID, an international drug purchase organization formed to combat AIDS, malaria and other diseases in developing countries.

CLINTON DONORS

A sampling from the group of donors to the William J. Clinton Foundation:

$10 million to $25 million

* Stephen L. Bing, a Los Angeles entertainment producer

* Fred Eychaner, a Chicago media mogul

* Theodore W. Waitt, co-founder of the Gateway computer company

$5 million to $10 million

* Michael Schumacher, a German Formula 1 racecar driver

$1 million to $5 million each

* Walter H. Shorenstein, a real-estate magnate

* Citi Foundation, a charity of Citigroup Inc.

* The Wal-Mart Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation

* The Streisand Foundation: the charity of actress, singer and director Barbra Streisand

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.