Yesterday Politico reported that largest part of Clinton Family Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative announced it will not amend its IRS filings despite admitting to errors earlier this year and claiming they would be fixed. So today the Republican National Committee issued a formal complaint with the IRS and sent a letter to Commissioner John Koskinen demanding an investigation into the accuracy of the Clinton Health Access Initiative filings, especially focusing on the proper accounting of government grants, including from foreign governments.
A series of articles published as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign kicked off this spring noted that the Clinton Health Access Initiative, set up in 2002 as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative and spun off from the foundation in 2010, had not fully complied with aspects of a conflict-of-interest agreement negotiated before the former first lady and senator became secretary of state in 2009. The HIV program did not seek a State Department ethics review of several donations from foreign governments, including Switzerland, Rwanda, Sweden, Papua New Guinea and the Belgian region of Flanders, officials said, while acknowledging that the initiative also failed to publicly report its donors at all after the spin-off.
An April 2015 Reuters story reported that Clinton Health Access Initiative spokeswoman Maura Daley conceded that the nonprofit organization made errors reporting the amounts of government grants on its 2012 and 2013 tax filings and said the group planned to refile those returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
However, in a recent exchange with POLITICO, Daley denied the initiative ever committed to refiling and said no revised forms are being prepared.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus filed a formal complaint via a letter and Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint form (embedded below) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, asking for a formal audit of the Health Access Initiative:
I am writing to inform you that the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) has filed a Form 13909 Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (copy attached) to bring to your attention misreporting in at least two of the annual filings of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (“CHAI”), EIN#: 27-1414646. CHAI, a non-profit which was spun off of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, formerly the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation (“Clinton Foundation”), was formed in 2010. I request that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) engage in a comprehensive audit of CHAI’s financial records to investigate the accuracy of its IRS Form 990 filings, particularly in the area of government grants.
According to published reports, CHAI has acknowledged errors in the reporting of government grants in its IRS Form 990 filings for 2012 and 2013. However, yesterday, in a report in Politico, CHAI confirmed that despite publicly admitting these errors earlier this year, it had no plans to amend its filings. As you are fully aware, IRS Form 990 is certified under penalty of perjury, and in both years, foundation Chief Financial Officer Julie Feder certified the filings
According to the letter the Clinton Foundation relies heavily on foreign government funding leads to the possibility conflicts of interest with Hillary Clinton who was the Secretary of State for part of the time which needs to be amended.
Given CHAI’s history of repeatedly failing to accurately report the amount of money it received from foreign governments and its refusal to amend its Form 990 filings, there is no way to tell whether there exists other undisclosed foreign government grants without the IRS conducting a full audit of CHAI’s financial records. I therefore urge you to conduct such an audit and compel CHAI to make the necessary amendments to its Form 990s from 2010 to 2013. The American people deserve to know whether the largest philanthropic arm of the Clinton Foundation continues to misreport the funds it receives from foreign governments, and whether this might lead to the potential for further conflicts of interest.
Chairman Priebus did the right thing by with his letter to the IRS. Sadly the very politicized IRS might just toss it in the garbage. After all IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has been playing games with the Congressional investigation of their targeting of tea party groups, it is still left to be seen if he will proceed with a legitimate investigation of a charity attacked to the presumptive Democratic Party presidential candidate.