Clinton Foundation Not Shutting Down

Q: Was the Clinton Foundation ordered to cease operations and Chelsea Clinton charged with fraud?

A: No. Those baseless claims were made up by a self-described “satirical” website.

FULL QUESTION

Has the Clinton Foundation been found to have committed fraud?

FULL ANSWER

The Clinton Foundation — the sprawling non-profit charity founded by Bill Clinton — has not been shut down, and Chelsea Clinton has not been charged with fraud. Those bogus charges were made in a May story about the foundation’s “newest scandal” on Clear Politics, which Facebook users flagged as potentially fake.

“They have been ordered to cease their operations,” the article says. “Their CEO, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former president Bill Clinton and Hillary is now charged with fraud and there is a warrant for her arrest.”

The article claims those details were “reported by InfoWars and then continued to get reported by bigger news sources like Fox, Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.” That’s false.

InfoWars is notorious for propagating conspiracy theories and publishing thinly sourced stories, but a search for “Clinton Foundation” on the website doesn’t return any results about it being shut down. Nor does a search for “Chelsea Clinton” produce results about a fraud charge or an arrest warrant. There were no such results on FoxNews.com, either.

The only seemingly related story on either website was about the Clinton Global Initiative, a Clinton Foundation offshoot, voluntarily downsizing operations in January 2017. Bill Clinton had previously announced in an August 2016 letter that CGI would no longer hold its annual conferences, whether Hillary Clinton was elected president or not.

Rush Limbaugh did falsely say “it is disbanded” when talking about the Clinton Foundation with a caller on his conservative radio show in March, but that isn’t where Clear Politics got its claims. Instead, the first half of its story originated at a prolific “satirical” website, America’s Last Line of Defense, last year.

America’s Last Line of Defense, Dec. 20, 2016: The Clinton Foundation, which has been given an A+ rating as a charitable organization, making it slightly more reputable than the Red Cross, has been ordered to cease operations. The CEO, Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, has been charged with fraud and a warrant issued for her arrest.

Following the news, which was first reported on InfoWars and then passed to other reputable news sources like Fox, Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, the Clintons were nowhere to be found for an interview.

The reason for the shutdown is the alleged “pay for play” donations that saw rich and powerful terrorists gain access to Washington DC in exchange for cash. During Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, it’s been rumored that the 9/11 attack mastermind along with the creator of ISIS and Osama Bin Laden were all invited to the White House residence for ice cream sundaes and an evening of Scattergories.

Bin Laden, who trained the 9/11 terrorists, was then sent to Cheyenne Mountain to be sent off-world and kept safe from prosecution while Obama and Clinton staged his death. Documents linking the Clinton Foundation directly to General George Hammond of SG Command were the final piece of the puzzle.

A disclaimer on thelastlineofdefense.org says: “America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.”

Readers may have suspected as much when the story says Hillary Clinton was rumored to have had ice cream and played board games at the White House with terrorists.

In reality, the Clinton Foundation is still very active, though it has seen a drop in fundraising. Hillary Clinton left the organization before launching her bid for president, and the Hill reported in April that she may not return. Bill Clinton is still very involved. He released a statement in February with the foundation’s annual report that detailed the foundation’s plans for 2017.

The second half of the Clear Politics story alleges that “Chelsea used the Foundation’s money to pay for her wedding expenses and other life luxuries.” That section comes from the New York Post — a tabloid owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

New York Post, Nov. 6, 2016: Chelsea Clinton used her family foundation’s cash to pay for her wedding, living expenses and taxes on gifts of cash from her parents, according to a bombshell email made public Sunday.

Doug Band, formerly a top aide to President Bill Clinton, griped about the former first daughter’s spending in a Jan. 4, 2012, email released by WikiLeaks.

“The investigation into her getting paid for campaigning, using foundation resources for her wedding and life for a decade, taxes on money from her parents…,” Band wrote to John Podesta, now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“I hope that you will speak to her and end this. Once we go down this road…”

Band’s message is contained in a chain of emails that were hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account. WikiLeaks has released more than 50,000 of the stolen emails over the past 32 days.

Earlier in his correspondence with Podesta, Band said he had “just received a call from a close friend” of Bill Clinton’s.

The Washington Post Fact Checker found that the allegation that “Chelsea Clinton used her family foundation’s cash to pay for her wedding” lacks evidence.

“Despite the breathless reporting, it’s hard to tell exactly what is going on in the email exchange, which is dated Jan. 4, 2012. There is no mention of actual Foundation monies being used for the wedding,” the Fact Checker wrote.

Other than the New York Post, no other U.S. newspaper ran the story about foundation payments for Clinton’s wedding, which was only picked up by “British tabloids, Fox News, Russian news agencies and various right-leaning websites,” the Fact Checker reported.

Both sections of this Clear Politics story are bogus — the first half is satire, and the second lacks evidence.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.

Sources

Arrington, Jacob. “Clinton Foundation Newest Scandal.” Clear Politics. Accessed 7 Jun 2017.

Derespina, Cody. “Clinton Global Initiative to lay off employees, shut down amid dwindling donations.” FoxNews.com. 16 Jan 2017.

Vogel, Kenneth, and O’Donnell, Katy. “Clinton Foundation to lay off dozens of staff.” Politico. 20 Sep 2016.

The Rush Limbaugh Show. “What Happened to the Clinton Foundation?” Transcript. 15 Mar 2017.

Clinton, Bill. “Empowering People to Build Better Futures for Themselves, Their Families, and Their Communities.” Clinton Foundation. 22 Aug 2016.

Stryker. “Breaking: Clinton Foundation Ordered To Cease Operations – Chelsea Charged With Fraud.” TheLastLineofDefense.org.  20 Dec 2016.

TheLastLineofDefense.org. “About Us.” Accessed 7 June 2017.

Clinton Foundation. “Press Releases and Statements.” Clintonfoundation.org. Accessed 13 June 2017.

Eder, Steve, Fink, Sheri and Chozick, Amy. “Soul-Searching at Clinton Foundation in Trump Era.” Nytimes.com. 2 Feb 2017.

Parnes, Amie. “Hillary Clinton unlikely to return to family foundation.” Thehill.com. 5 April 2017.

Bill Clinton. “2016.” Clintonfoundation.org. Accessed 13 June 2017.

Schultz, Marisa, and Golding, Bruce. “Chelsea Clinton used foundation to help pay for wedding: email.” New York Post. 6 Nov 2016.

Kessler, Glenn. “Did the Clinton Foundation pay for Chelsea’s wedding?” Washington Post Fact Checker. 4 Jan 2017.

Leaked Band Email: Chelsea Used Clinton Foundation Resources For Her Wedding.” Gop.com. 6 Nov 2016.

ConsNation.com. “Disclaimer.” Accessed 7 Jun 2017.

Clear Politics. “Disclaimer.” Accessed 7 Jun 2017.

Conservative Nation. “Clinton Foundation Ordered To Cease Operations.” Consnation.com. 3 May 2017.

Conservative Army. “Clinton Foundation Ordered To Cease Operations – Chelsea Charged With Fraud.” UsaPoliticsToday.com. 3 May 2017.

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