The Clinton Global Initiative will hold its annual gala tonight to honor Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton and you would think that anyone who is anybody in politics, business, and entertainment.
Except anyone who is anybody won’t be there. Several notables including President Obama, Facebook founder Steve Zuckerberg, and Elton John have begged off, citing other commitments. And both Janet Yellen and anti-capitalism author Thomas Piketty both declined an invitation to make a presentation on income inequality.
It appears that the foundation, which has raised billions over the years and gave both Bill and Hillary Clinton a highly visible platform to make millions from giving speeches around the world, is losing some of its luster.
The $2 billion affair in New York City titled “The Future of Impact” was intended to attract a star-studded guest list and celebrate the accomplishments of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. But instead the event appears to be representative of the respect the Clintons have lost this past year, as Hillary faces questioning about her private email server and the former president may have to step down from his role with CGI.
Obama, who has attended every CGI gala in the past, will skip for the first time this year, citing scheduling conflicts. Obama has yet to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, and while he had history working with Clinton while she was his secretary of state, the two-term Vice President Joe Biden may jump into the race soon.
Additionally Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and French economist Thomas Piketty were both asked to deliver presentations on income inequality, but both declined. Hillary Clinton may lead a panel on economic opportunity for women, but since she has distanced herself from CGI’s efforts since launching her campaign, her role will be otherwise minimal.
Numerous donors have dropped their sponsorship of the foundation recently, and it has become increasingly difficult for the CGI to raise money. The weekend will focus on bolstering those efforts, but at the hands of Chelsea Clinton, not her parents. The younger Clinton is slated to take the reins of the foundation as her mother steps back from her role during the campaign and her father’s role is called into question.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are all scheduled to appear at the dinner this weekend.
Any not-for-profit executive can tell you that it is imperative for the organization to avoid even a whiff of scandal. But the stench of wrongdoing coming from Hillary Clinton lately has a lot of donors turning up their noses and withdrawing their support.
If you’re wondering about the viability of the foundation, you needn’t worry. When the Clintons can command a hundred million at a time from foreign governments, there’s not much danger of the foundation going under.
But clearly, the earth has moved and what once was seen as almost magical, has now been exposed as just another self-serving, self-promoting gimmick by Bill and Hillary. Some are backing away, not wanting to be a prop in the Clinton drama whose extended run shows no sign of wrapping up anytime soon.