“The Clinton Global Initiative is a program of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The foundation has been a focus of criticism this political season over donations received from governments and corporations that had business before Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state and that could be affected by decisions she would make as president. The foundation has said it “has strong donor integrity and transparency practices.”
The Clinton Global Initiative’s help for a for-profit company part-owned by Clinton friends poses a different issue. Under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest but instead in the public interest, on broad issues such as education or poverty.
“The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests,” the Internal Revenue Service says on its website.
Energy Pioneer Solutions was founded in 2009 by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska. An internal document from that year showed it as owned 29% by Mr. Kleeb; 29% by Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua.
Owning 5% each were Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias and Mark Weiner, a supplier to political campaigns and former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, both longtime friends of the Clintons.
The Clinton Global Initiative holds an annual conference at which it announces monetary commitments from corporations, individuals or nonprofit organizations to address global challenges—commitments on which it has acted in a matchmaking role. Typically, the commitments go to charities and nongovernmental organizations. The commitment to Energy Pioneer Solutions was atypical because it originated from a private individual who was making a personal financial investment in a for-profit company.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016)