Fallout from the bad press for the Clinton Foundation during the recent election campaign has resulted in the shuttering of one of the foundation’s major pieces.
The Clinton Global Initiative, which “convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” was a centerpiece of the Clinton Foundation’s efforts to influence world leaders while raising cash for the foundation — 20 million krones from Norway alone.
The layoffs will take effect April 15, the Clinton Foundation said in a filing with the New York Department of Labor Thursday, citing the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative. The move is part of a plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election in order to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
The layoffs were reportedly announced internally in September, ahead of Clinton’s stunning loss to President-elect Donald Trump. Many other employees had already begun looking for or accepting other jobs at that time, as it had become clear the future of the initiative was in doubt. It’s unclear how many of the once 200 strong staff might remain at the Clinton Foundation in some other capacity.
The Clinton Foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.
While the FBI concluded its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a second investigation into the Clinton Foundation regarding allegations of corruption during that same tenure is ongoing.
The decision to sunset the Clinton Global Initiative reportedly set off a dispute within Clinton Foundation circles regarding the best way to handle the fallout from the allegations. Some complained the layoff process was “insensitively” handled, Politico reported, while others took issue with the optics of allowing anyone with the Clinton Global Initiative to stay on.
All told, 76 people will lose their jobs as a result of the closing of CGI.
The pace of the investigation into the foundation appears to have slowed with the end of the presidential campaign. The FBI is still looking into the spiderweb of associations between the foundation and private businesses like Teneo (where Huma Abedin was drawing a salary at the same time she was getting paid by the State Department) and world leaders, who exchanged cash for favors during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State.
CGI served as an effective fundraising device for the foundation, as foreign governments and individual foreign leaders poured money into its coffers. But some of the gifts given during Hillary Clinton’s service as secretary of State not only generated bad press, but raised ethical and legal questions that were unwelcome. So the Clintons decided to cut their losses and close CGI.
No word on whether the FBI investigation is nearing some kind of a conclusion and it doesn’t appear that any decision on legal action will occur until well into this year.