Clinton confirmation hearing raises concerns about funding for husband's foundation

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton began her confirmation hearings for her position as the new United States Secretary of State when Barack Obama ascends to the US Presidency.

Official portrait of Hillary Clinton.

During the hearing by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, she was questioned about her husband, former President Bill Clinton's, charitable foundation, which has come under fire for accepting donations in the tens of millions of dollars from a number of foreign governments, foundations and individuals.

"It is not unique, however, for spouses of government officials to work, and there are very well established rules for what is expected when that occurs," she said.

"I plead for you, really, to give even more consideration," said Senator Richard Lugar, who fears that foreign governments and others could win favor with the Secretary of State by donating money to the foundation run by her husband.

"I share the President-elect's view that the activities of the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton himself should not be a barrier to Senator Clinton’s service," Senator Lugar further said. "But I also share the view implicitly recognized by the memorandum of understanding that the work of the Clinton Foundation is a unique complication that will have to be managed with great care and transparency."

Prior to Hillary Clinton's nomination, the Obama transition team required a memorandum of understanding between transition officials and Bill Clinton's foundation, which was signed on December 12. It stipulated that Bill Clinton must disclose the foundation's future contributors once a year.