With less than 100 days until the 2016 general election, the head of the Clinton Foundation is already strategizing organizational shifts in preparation for a possible Hillary Clinton White House next January. Donna Shalala said in an NPR interview on Tuesday she’s aware that such changes--such as identifying new partners-- can trickle down to those deeply dependent on the foundation’s charity.
“This kind of unraveling has to be done with a scalpel so that we just do not hurt people, and do not interrupt the very good work that’s being done,” she said.
An example of one possible change, Shalala said, is to separate the foundation’s programs into non-governmental organizations so it can “continue the work that was started by the Clinton Foundation” in a way that adheres to legal and ethical standards.
Recently, the Clinton Foundation has been at the epicenter of public scrutiny, bearing the brunt of attacks from media organizations, watchdog groups, and politicians who repeatedly question the foundation’s ties to the State Department under Clinton’s four-year tenure. A batch of newly discovered emails, for instance, have suggested that the relationship may have been closer than Clinton had initially led on.
And, on Tuesday,, released details of an investigation that found that more than half of its private interest donors had met or conversed with Clinton while she was secretary of state, contributing as much as $156 million to the foundation’s international programs. The Clinton campaign has since rejected the findings, but the exposé managed to get the attention of vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, who called for an “immediate shutdown” of the Clinton Foundation.
Despite the hype, however, Shalala said the decision to preemptively institute changes within the organization isn’t reactionary. She said, “We’re not responding to the outside criticism. I was brought in a year ago to help start thinking through what the form would take if she was elected, and the president wanted to do it very carefully.”
She added that making such moves would have been too “presumptuous” while Clinton remained the unofficial Democratic nominee.
It seems as though theis slowly publicizing future changes. Earlier this week, the group announced that former president Bill Clinton would resign from the board, and it would stop accepting foreign and corporation donations. But, Shalala said, Chelsea Clinton would retain her current role in the foundation if her mother is elected.