Former president Bill Clinton defended his foundation’s acceptance of donations from foreign governments on Saturday, pointing to the track record of his global philanthropy as Hillary Clinton nears an announcement on a 2016 presidential campaign.
In an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative University, the ex-president sought to address critics who have questioned the receipt of donations from foreign governments while the former first lady served in the State Department and after she departed in early 2013.
“My theory about all of this is disclose everything and then let people make their judgments,” Clinton told moderator Larry Wilmore of the cable channel Comedy Central.
“I believe we have done a lot more good than harm and I believe this is a good thing,” he said.
He spoke shortly after Hillary Clinton appeared on stage along with the couple’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, but steered clear of addressing criticism involving her use of a private email account while she served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton also did not refer to the recent scrutiny of the foundation’s fundraising practices, instead giving college students a preview of an upcoming report on the progress of women and girls by her foundation’s ‘No Ceilings’ project.
On the donations flap, Bill Clinton noted that some of the foundation’s money has come from Middle Eastern nations, pointing to donations from the UAE.
“Do we agree with everything they do? No. But they’re helping us fight ISIS,” he said. Similarly, Bill Clinton said he didn’t agree with the entire foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, another donor, but he pointed to its construction of the kingdom’s first co-educational institution.
He said the foundation has received donations from more than 300,000 people since its inception.
Hillary Clinton has faced recent criticism over private email account while she was secretary of state. The disclosures have raised questions over whether Clinton complied with federal rules requiring government officials to retain written communications involving official business.
Hillary Clinton is building a campaign team and is the leading Democratic presidential contender if she enters the 2016 campaign.
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