Objections from the Clinton Foundation have failed to assuage concerns of a charity watchdog group that says potential donors should think twice before giving money to the foundation, which has come under scrutiny for donations from foreign governments and tax reporting issues.
A spokeswoman for Charity Navigator confirmed Tuesday that the Clinton Foundation remains on the group’s “watch list” after being placed on it earlier in the year.
In the section designating the foundation as a member of its “watch list,” CN’s website cited news reports of donations from foreign governments and the refiling of annual tax returns after reporting errors.
“Basically, it is a way of calling attention to an issue of concern that donors should consider before supporting a charity,” Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing, said in an email.
Other charities on the site’s watch list include the American Red Cross and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
The ratings site had also said earlier it had evaluated the foundation through its official rating system in the past, but it has determined the charity’s “atypical business model” can’t be captured in the rating system’s methodology, though it still remains on the watch list.
“Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity,” CN said on its website. “We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.”
The foundation, which is gearing up for the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2015 annual meeting Sept. 26-29, came under scrutiny earlier in the year, before former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton entered the 2016 presidential race, amid reports that it accepted donations from foreign governments while she was serving as the nation’s top diplomat.
The controversy over the foundation has largely ceded attention to the controversy over the private email system and server Mrs. Clinton chose to use as secretary of state. But it appears that lobbying from the foundation to get itself removed from the watch list has not worked.
In a memorandum responding to the watch list designation, the foundation said earlier in the year that its disclosure policies go “above and beyond” any legal requirement, and that it decided in April to implement stronger policies regarding donor disclosure and foreign government donations, which the group said addressed the majority of CN’s concerns.
The foundation increased the frequency of disclosure of its donors from annually to quarterly, and said going forward, it would accept funding only from foreign governments that have funded Clinton Foundation programs: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Clinton also resigned her position on the foundation’s board upon entering the 2016 presidential race in April.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
• David Sherfinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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