- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Federal Trade Commission is refusing to investigate Bill and Hillary’s Clinton Foundation despite a Congressional request to look into the nonprofit to see if it’s operating on behalf of itself, or its members.

The refusal comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report last week that found a program under the Clinton Foundation — headed by former President Bill Clinton — gave $2 million to a for-profit company that was partially owned by friends of the Clintons. Mr. Clinton also lobbied the Energy Department to give a grant to the company, the Journal reported.

Under federal law, charities aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest.
Still, this doesn’t seem to be good enough to warrant an investigation by the FTC.

“When the Commission can establish that an entity claiming to be a charity is in fact operating to profit itself or its members, i.e., is a ‘sham charity,’ the Commission can bring an enforcement action against the entity for making deceptive representations to donors,” Democratic Commission Chair Edith Ramirez wrote Thursday in a letter to House members, according to the Washington Examiner.

Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn requested the investigation, and she was supported by 20 other members in the House. The group called for the probe in March because of the charity’s lack of transparency and its potential for being a so-called “sham” charity — that is, that it works to profit itself, not the greater public.

Mrs. Blackburn and the Wall Street Journal aren’t the only one with concerns about the Clinton Foundation. Last year, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust filed an IRS complaint against the Clinton Foundation for making improper payments to Mrs. Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

“It’s shameful that a federal agency, which prides itself on exposing deceptive practices and advocating for a level playing field, has turned into a partisan defender of the Clintons and their family business interests. The concerns raised by Congresswoman Blackburn and her colleagues are serious and well-documented,” Matthew Whitaker, FACT’s executive director said in a statement.

The FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation and whether it received contributions from foreign donors looking to curry favor with Mrs. Clinton while she served as secretary of state. That’s on top of the FBI’s investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Apparently the FTC would prefer to give the Clintons a pass, rather than do its job. I wish I could say I was surprised.

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