Bill Clinton…Did Something Back in 2010

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


I’m trying hard to remove my partisan hat and look at this objectively, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what the problem is supposed to be with this:

The Clinton Global Initiative, which arranges donations to help solve the world’s problems, set up a financial commitment that benefited a for-profit company part-owned by people with ties to the Clintons, including a current and a former Democratic official and a close friend of former President Bill Clinton.

The story meanders through nearly 2,000 more words, but it can be summarized pretty easily:

  • Energy Pioneer Solutions is a startup company that insulates people’s homes and allows them to pay via their utility bills. It’s owned by several Democratic Party donor types and other assorted worthies.
  • Six years ago, a Canadian philanthropist named Kim Samuel decided to make a $2 million commitment to the company. (Though in the end, she decided to commit only $500,000.)
  • For some reason the Journal doesn’t explain, Samuel routed this commitment through the Clinton foundation instead of just giving it directly to EPS.

And…that’s about it. I gather that although this kind of matchmaking is common for the Clinton foundation, it only occasionally involves for-profit companies. But it’s happened before. So what’s the problem? Did Kim Samuel get some kind of benefit for directing her money through the foundation? Did Energy Pioneers get some kind of extra benefit above and beyond the money Samuel wanted to give them in the first place? Does this represent some kind of misuse of the foundation’s mission? Is foundation money not supposed to go to anyone associated with Bill Clinton? Considering the fact that Clinton seems to be friends with nearly everyone in the world,1 that hardly seems likely.

I dunno. The Journal article does its best to make this sound shady in some way, but I’m not really seeing it. Can anyone help me out?

1Except me. What have I done wrong?

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.