Amy Sterling Casil
An Introduction by Amy Sterling Casil
“I write for the 99% — a female executive, for-profit development fundraiser, heavy-duty NGO fundraiser, Nebula Award nominee author of 36 books. Professor.”
“I began researching the Clinton Foundation in May, 2016. The first of a series of articles, most written prior to detailed revelations found in Wikileaks’ Podesta emails, was published in July, 2016.
This article links to all of them with a brief description. It tells a story in and of itself, I realize. The Foundation is a perfect “fit” with some of the news reporters and pundits we’ve learned about since Bernie Sanders ran for President and so many ugly truths came out of Wikileaks. A lot of information in the articles is highly incriminating to the Clinton Foundation — because they do few “charitable” activities of public benefit and receive and spend large sums of money on salaries, travel and huge celebrity-studded galas. They are at-best, careless in their adherence to normal organizational rules, charitable law, and quaint ideas like contract deliverables and measurable outcomes.
At first, I was frightened to write anything about the Foundation, even though I was shocked by what I was seeing — gross incompetence was the most positive explanation for the extreme inconsistencies in their financial reports and public information. It was obvious the nonprofit community wasn’t commenting on the Foundation’s suspicious business model and dubious outcomes because some were completely uncritical Clinton boosters, and others feared retribution or losing money from large private foundations, the numerous big companies that donated to Clinton Foundation, or federal or state government agencies.
But I kept going. One of the best moments of the series occurred when the Wikileaks Podesta emails were published and each successive group provided new confirmation that what I’d determined independently was true — and then some.” ~Amy Sterling Casil, January 7, 2017
(Excerpts from Amy Sterling Casil’s research on the Clinton Foundation, will be published below as individual timeline entries, as well as added to the Clinton Foundation Timeline in the correct chronological time frame.)
2012 – Clinton Foundation Clampdown: Destroying the World’s Motivation
By: Amy Sterling Casil
(…) “I’m not an expert on Haiti. However, Haitians have been protesting the Clintons for years because they promised so much after the Haiti earthquake and delivered nothing. I worked with a legitimate start-up organization that wanted to develop a new way to holistically improve health and lives in the Caribbean. They weren’t focused on money, so much as on people.
Before that, I had been aware of the horrific deforestation problem in Haiti, one of the root causes of the country’s deep poverty.
So when I chose to revisit the Clinton Foundation website and its almost-daily “updates,” I chose to play the “Seeding Opportunity” game offered, and selected coffee farming.
The game is not very “fun” and one doesn’t learn much by “playing it” (scrolling from screen to screen while bland language appears beside the faceless Haitian coffee farmer, “ Stéphanie.” The action consists of Stéphanie blinking).
“Haiti has a deep history in coffee. In fact, we were once responsible for half the world’s coffee production,” Stéphanie tells me.
I saw a Clinton supporter tell someone on Twitter to start a “Go Fund Me” for Haitians if they cared so much about them.
So anyway, what the Clinton Foundation is claiming it does to help farmers in Haiti is — well I’ll let Stéphanie tell you,
“Recently, we joined the Haiti Coffee Academy, co-founded by the Clinton Foundation and La Colombe. The Academy is a model coffee farm and training center where we attend trainings in basic agronomy, harvesting practices, and processing techniques.”
As with everything involving the Clinton Foundation, time is fluid. In this case, “recently” may mean 2011, 2012 or 2013. So what is this? The Clinton Foundation may or may not have made any type of financial gift to fund the Haiti Coffee Academy (note: according to Todd Carmichael’s obviously self-provided Wikipedia entry, the Clinton Foundation gave $350,000 in 2012 to PURCHASE THE PROPERTY where the Academy is located in Haiti). The information our faceless Haitian coffee farmer is providing comes from 2012, four years ago:
“The Clinton Foundation is working to grow Haiti’s coffee sector by bringing Haitian coffee to new markets and has facilitated new purchase agreements between Haitian coffee companies, cooperatives and international buyers. In 2012, the Foundation began work on the Haiti Coffee Academy with international coffee company La Colombe Torrefaction. With support from the Leslois Shaw Foundation, the Haiti Coffee Academy will be a model coffee farm and training center …”
La Colombe IS an American company founded 20 years ago when that could still happen. They do have an active website linking directly to the Haiti Coffee Academy website. And a Travel Channel show with founder Todd Carmichael. And, they are recorded as a Clinton Foundation donor of between $10,000 and $25,000 as is the other “project sponsor” the Leslois Shaw Foundation (between $100,000 and $250,000) donated to Clinton Foundation. The Les and Lois Shaw Foundation is based on a bequest from this Canadian gentleman who died in Barbados in — aka Shaw Industries aka mining, land development and “One of Canada’s best run companies!”
If I know my Clinton Foundation, there will be zero actual Foundation dollars going toward this “purchase” of land to guarantee the coffee production for the privately-owned Philadelphia based company. In Todd Carmichael’s 2011 Esquire profile, the Clinton Foundation supposedly was giving $34 MILLION toward this project. Really? It would be like them for that to be reduced to oh, say — $34. Maybe not even that. Why the hell should Bill Clinton pay for anything? Those women were all liars by the way.
OK, enough said. I have semi-comped this business and the most recent Inc. profile says it employs approximately 150 people, based in Philadelphia, PA. At its stated revenue of $35 million it is officially an SME. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Those are what 70,000 more went out of business last year than started in this country.
People like Carmichael suck all the air out of the room. I can easily see how the incredibly stingy Clinton Foundation’s one-time $350,000 gift in 2012 that they are still taking credit for, could help this man take control of acreage and coffee production in Haiti.
Because that’s what it is.
Oh? The air out of the room? I just noticed these guys raised $28.5 million in venture capital from Goode Partners in 2014. They will have to pay that back. Likely soon.” (Read more: Amy Sterling Casil, 7/19/2016)
January 1, 2014 – Bill Clinton’s $300 Million Birthday Gift!
“There are now dozens of articles, several films and numerous news reports about the money that the Clinton Foundation accepts — i.e. revenue.
But there are few, and few reliable, reports about how this organization spends its money and the programs it states it conducts. Taking $millions from unsavory international billionaires like Lebanese-Nigerian Gilbert Chagoury or countries like Saudi Arabia which also received arms deals through the U.S. government is one thing.
If the money comes from bad people and organizations, what if it’s turned to a good purpose? One hears frequently that “the Clinton Foundation does so many good works around the world!” Some charity experts purport to analyze the Foundation’s work; they’ve simply retyped statements from the various pages on the organization and its associates’ websites.
Supporters also tout the organization’s “A” rating from Chicago-based Charity Watchdog, aka “The American Institute for Philanthropy.” This organization has a budget of under $600,000 a year, and its five board members have not changed in at least a decade. Its founder Daniel Borochoff’s salary comprises about 30% of its current revenue. The methodology used by Charity Watchdog is extraordinarily simple and involves no analysis of program conduct, nature and impact, just adding up and dividing numbers from official tax returns. It is effective in detecting unsophisticated charity scammers who phone elderly people for donations, and then spend the money on themselves. Charity Watchdog itself is an organization worthy of some scrutiny as to its effectiveness and impact.
You can read my four-part series here on Medium (start here) if you want to read more in-depth about the Clinton Foundation’s programs.
The Clinton Foundation reported it received $337,985,726 in revenue in 2014 (the most recent year for which it has reported income and expense or filed taxes). Below are an additional three primary programs and achievements advertised on the Clinton Foundation website and their reported outcomes and stated cost.”
(…) Clinton Global Initiative ……………………..$23,544,381
The Clinton Global Initiative hosts huge Gala meetings that serve as PR vehicles for well-known attendees. CGI America was held in June in Atlanta. Most attendees pay $20,000 and up. At the Galas, attendees sit and hear panel speeches, watch videos, get reports on various issues (like “climate change”) and sign up for a “Commitment to Action” if they desire. The “Commitment to Action” is a non-binding agreement of “improvement” in whatever area the individual or organization thinks they ought to be working in. Since the majority of the attendees represent corporations or international finance, they “agree” to make various improvements in business they conduct.
Attendees and speakers at this year’s Gala include Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Ursula Burns (Xerox CEO), Jim Yong Kim (President of the World Bank Group), Hemant Kanoria (Chairman and Managing Director of Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd.) and many other global corporate luminaries.
Membership is by invitation only.
Those who attend the meetings also receive the benefits illustrated below:
According to the Clinton Foundation, “more than 3,400 ‘Commitments to Action’” have been made “to date” — and a blog post records that “123 new Commitments to Action were signed in 2015.”
Let’s divide 123 into $23,544,381 and see what we get:
Let’s see if we can find a typical “Commitment to Action.”
No funds of the Clinton Foundation are expended to do any of the work or “action” in the Commitment to Action. The organization/corporation that makes the Commitment is agreeing to undertake the stated Action and obtain the identified outcomes or results on their own. The “Commitment” is supposed to be reported back to the Clinton Foundation each year.
September 2014 – Clinton Foundation: World Class Slacktivists
“The September 2014 report prepared by Palantir on the Clinton Global Initiative’s ‘work’ between 2005 and 2013. Palantir states they focus on Big Data analysis. One would hope this report is atypical of the company’s actual Big Data analysis.
As I reported in the initial article, the Clinton Foundation/Clinton Global Initiative doesn’t do much on its own. Almost 100% of its “outcomes” in any of its stated areas of focus are based on “Commitments to Action.” These “Commitments” resemble “Memoranda of Understanding” (MOU) some may be familiar with from local and regional nonprofit work. I’m sure attorneys much smarter than me may point out that these commitments are in no way enforceable.
You may have heard of Trump University, and also separate for-profit schools with ties to the Clinton Foundation. In addition, there is a Clinton Global Initiative University. Like everything else about the Clinton Foundation, it is based on “Commitments to Action.” They give you a roadmap for these “Commitments” too.
I confess, I don’t understand why no one in any official position except for Charity Navigator’s oblique assessment that it cannot “rate” the Clinton Foundation due to its “business model” has not questioned this “business model” as being tax exempt. Tony Robbins seems more eligible for nonprofit status, as at least he provides products like books, tapes and seminars, and he might even make more of a social impact!”
(…) “All the organization does is hold meetings for which it charges the attendees and takes sponsorship money from companies and CEOS — and I quote from the Clinton Foundation “FAQ”
“Sponsorship revenue for CGI is up over last year, and more than half of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are current CGI members or sponsors …”
So let’s walk through it together.
This is about how the IRS is supposed to determine whether or not a corporation should pay taxes on the revenue it receives or not. As previously noted, here’s what they received in 2014 and the prior year.
They note 486 employees on their form 990 for 2014. If that $217 million was spent exclusively on salaries that’s an average of $447,958 per employee. (PS: “experts” out there — it makes this ratio even worse if you factor in 100% of their expenses, not “better”). Their net assets increased by more than $100 million between 2013 and 2014. It looks like they permanently designated an endowment. So all their extra now goes into that. Just in case.
If I were a corporate sponsor paying for the Clinton Global Initiative meetings, I would dial Donna Shalala up and ask, “What ROI are you going to give us for the contribution?”
And as to the individuals paying to attend the conferences, I would call up and ask, “Why do I have to pay? Can’t you afford at least to fly me here and put me up?”
A person who teaches accounting compared the Foundation to the Carter Foundation in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. (*Note: The nonprofit sector in the US is in horrible shape: There are 19 total jobs in the nonprofit sector listed within 150 miles of downtown Los Angeles — a distance that would encompass all of LA, Orange, San Bernardino/Riverside,Ventura and San Diego counties, a population area of roughly 20 million people). (Read more: Amy Sterling Casil, 7/13/2016)
(Timeline editor’s note: Amy has been a friend to our grass root group since the email timeline days and we appreciate her generosity in allowing us to post excerpts of her research on the Foundation timeline. Please be sure to read her entire articles at the link we provide in each entry.)