The New York Times editorial board called on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to cut ties with the Clinton Foundation in light of the recently released emails that show that the foundation sought favors for its donors from the State Department while Clinton served as secretary of state:
“When Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state, the Obama administration tried to draw a line between the foundation, particularly its foreign-government sponsors, and her role. The new emails underscore that this effort was at best partly successful. ‘Pay-to-play’ charges by Donald Trump have not been proved. But the emails and previous reporting suggest Mr. Trump has reason to say that while Mrs. Clinton was secretary, it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.
Mrs. Clinton became involved in State Department deals and negotiations that also involved foundation donors or board members. She prompted multiple investigations with an arrangement that allowed Huma Abedin, her deputy chief of staff at the State Department and now vice chairwoman of her campaign, to be paid simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm run by Doug Band, the former adviser to Mr. Clinton who helped create the foundation — and who sent emails to Ms. Abedin seeking favors for foundation donors.
The newly disclosed emails show that some foundation donors and friends, like Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin al-Khalifa of Bahrain, used foundation channels to seek access to Mrs. Clinton.”
The Times said that even though the foundation has promised to stop accepting foreign donations if Clinton becomes president, it would be better if both she and Bill cut their ties to the foundation immediately:
“Mrs. Clinton has said she intends to give Mr. Clinton a role in her administration. Cutting his foundation ties would demonstrate that he is giving any role he would have in the administration the priority it deserves. It would also send a signal that Mrs. Clinton and her family have heard the concerns of critics and supporters and will end any further possibility for the foundation to become a conduit to the White House for powerful influence seekers.
The Clinton Foundation has become a symbol of the Clintons’ laudable ambitions, but also of their tangled alliances and operational opacity. If Mrs. Clinton wins, it could prove a target for her political adversaries. Achieving true distance from the foundation is not only necessary to ensure its effectiveness, it is an ethical imperative for Mrs. Clinton.”
That is easier said than done for the Clintons, who have used the foundation to boost their image, wealth and power over the years, and are loath to cede complete control despite the ethical issues.