The Hillbilly Kills Philanthropy

Just when you think it’s safe for Hillary to run for President against a field of Republican racists, homophobes, misogynists, fanatics, science-denialists and fools, her husband is caught getting hand-jobs from non-profit organizations, corporations, U.S. contractors and governments around the world.

These hand-jobs for Bill are not cheap tricks. The minimum price tag for them is $500,000, and the payoff can be as little as the Hillbilly yodeling for 30 minutes or more at a corporate or non-profit dinner, to as much as billions of dollars in US government contracts—or foreign aid—when Hillary was Secretary of State.

This is serious stuff,  and raises a “fundamental question of judgement” on Hillary’s part, relevant to the 2016 Presidential campaign, according to Lawrence Lessing of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics. Journalist David Sirota writes in the May 29 issue of “Truthdig,” that while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State her agency approved “$165 billion of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation Donors.” As bad as that may be, Sirota reported on the number of foreign governments—some of whom had clear records of human rights violations–currying favor with the US government for foreign aid, by donating large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation.

These reports have sickened me. I want Hillary to be better than her Hillbilly husband. I want my granddaughters to grow up under a female President. But it smells of the same kind of shakedown artistry which Bill Clinton has always used to bastardize philanthropy on a grand scale.   A front-page story in the May 30, 2015, New York Times headlined “Clinton Award Included Cash to Foundation,” illustrates how the Hillbilly has strangled honest giving and made fools of philanthropists.

The Times reported on the “Happy Hearts Fund”, the charity established by model and Phuket Tsunami survivor Petra Nemcova, which paid a $500,000 fee to the Clinton Foundation for the Hillbilly to receive an award and speak at the non-profit’s gala, held on the 10th Anniversary of the Tsunami last year, at Cipriani’s in NYC.

Cipriani’s is a pricey place to hold an event. As a CEO of a NYC based, national non-profit for nearly a decade, I avoided Cipriani’s because of its high pricetag.   The “Happy Hearts Event,” cost Nemcova $363,000—before—she paid the Hillbilly’s speaking fee of half-a million dollars. That meant that operating costs for the event—including the Clinton shakedown—neared the 50% level of the $2 million the gala raised: an unconscionable cost figure for ANY non-profit, in violation of all industry standards.

Executive Director of “Happy Hearts,” Sue Veres Royal, was dismissed for disagreeing with Nemcova’s numbscull spending, and she told the Times: “ The Clinton Foundation had rejected the Happy Hearts Fund invitation more than once, until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then an offer of an honorarium….Petra called me and said we have to include an honorarium for him—that they don’t look at these things unless money is offered, and it has to be $500,000.” (Here’s the link to a copy of the invoice: ) 

Columbia University’s Doug White, who heads the school’s Masters Program in Fund Raising Management was flabbergasted: This is primarily a small but telling example of the way the Clintons operate…I find it—what would be the word?—distasteful.”

The “Happy Hearts” attack, was not the first time the Hillbilly filched from philanthropists.   Just one year earlier, the Israeli Jewish National Fund agreed to pay Bill Clinton $500,000 to deliver a 45-minute speech at a 90th Birthday celebration for Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Peres Academic Center.

Jews like me, and in Israel, were furious. For decades, we supported the Jewish National Fund by “Planting Trees in Israel”, for $10 per tree, or three for $25, to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and to commemorate the lives of family members who died. I planted one by hand, myself, in a JNF forest in 1991, to honor Harry Jacobson, the patriarch of my wife’s family.

The outcry from Jews who had trusted the JNF to spend our money on growing Israel’s forests, not the Hillbilly’s bank account, forced the JNF to rescind its pay-off to Bill. While the Clinton Foundation claimed it “redirected” the payment made to another charity, the highly respected Israeli publication Ha’aretz reported that after one year, the Clinton Foundation still had not repaid the JNF some $250,000.

The Clintons, it seems, find none of this distasteful and they can’t see past their greed for greenbacks to the green forests or trees. To the Hillbilly, those rolling hills of green are piles of cash, awaiting harvest.  Or, to turn the old Chinese proverb on its head:  every crisis, including Tsunamis that kill 200,000 people,  is an opportunity to clean up.

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