The New York Times editorial board on Tuesday called on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to cut ties with the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, that focuses on fighting childhood obesity, addressing the effects of global climate change and creating economic growth.
Hillary Clinton’s ties to the foundation have come under increased scrutiny in recent months following allegations of ethical impropriety surrounding her tenure as secretary of state. Recent investigations, for example, found that some of the foundation’s donors used its channels to seek access to Clinton while she worked at the State Department.
“The Clinton Foundation has become a symbol of the Clintons’ laudable ambitions, but also of their tangled alliances and operational opacity,” the Times’ editorial board wrote. “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.”
Earlier this month, Bill Clinton announced the charity would not accept corporate and foreign donations should Hillary Clinton win the White House in November. The former president also said he would step down from the board of the foundation. Chelsea Clinton, however, will continue to serve on the board.
The Times’ editorial board urged the foundation to ban contributions from foreign and corporate entities right away. It also called on both Bill and Chelsea Clinton to relinquish their spots on the board if the former secretary of state wins in November.
Clinton’s Republican opponent, real estate mogul Donald Trump, has called on Clinton to shut down the Foundation entirely and return its donations to countries he claims “influenced her totally” while she served as secretary of state. In response, Clinton’s campaign urged Trump to divest himself of “all of his business conflicts to ensure that he is not letting his own financial interests affect decisions made by his potential administration.”
In a new statement released Tuesday, Trump’s campaign called the New York Times’ editorial “a devastating rebuke of Hillary Clinton’s poor judgment and broken ethical compass.”
“At a minimum, Hillary Clinton should heed the growing calls for her corrupt foundation to cease accepting foreign and corporate contributions immediately,” Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller said. “With each donation she becomes more and more compromised.”
While it made clear Trump had no evidence to support allegations of “pay-to-play,” the Times’ editorial board acknowledged the GOP nominee did have “reason to say that while Mrs. Clinton was secretary, it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.”
Last week, after a New York Times article highlighted some unusual ties between the foundation and Russia, The Huffington Post called on Clinton to shutter the charity with a banner front page headline that read “Just Shut It Down.”