Clinton charity won’t refile erroneous tax forms after all

November 2, 2015

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s flagship health program says it will not refile erroneous tax returns for 2012 and 2013 after all, POLITICO reported on Monday, despite telling Reuters earlier this year it was “working diligently” to get them amended.

Reuters first uncovered the mistakes in the forms filed by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in the spring, when Hillary Clinton was facing criticism over her family’s charities’ admissions they did not comply with a 2008 ethics agreement she signed with Barack Obama’s incoming presidential administration in order for her to become secretary of state.

CHAI, which files tax returns separately from the rest of the foundation, conceded it had mistakenly misreported, to the tune of millions of dollars, how much it received from governments compared to non-government donations for two years in a row after a Reuters reporter struggled to make the numbers add up.

Maura Daley, a CHAI spokeswoman, said at the time they would refile the tax form – known as form 990s – with the Internal Revenue Service, as they had already done for the previous two years to correct similar mistakes. “We are working diligently to make the necessary amendments to the returns,” Daley wrote in an email at the time.

However, POLITICO reported that Daley said CHAI, which is best known for reducing the cost of HIV medication for people in the developing world, had decided no amendments were necessary, saying that the errors had no “material impact”.

Daley did not respond to requests from Reuters on Monday to clarify the discrepancy between CHAI’s earlier comments and the new report.

Daley was also quoted by POLITICO as saying: “CHAI has consistently stated that they would conduct a review process to determine whether the transposition errors required a refiling.” CHAI never mentioned a ‘review process’ or the like to Reuters ahead of the article appearing, and Daley did not respond to a request for comment.

The IRS has told Reuters that charities should refile their tax returns if they learn of a mistake, but that federal law bars it from commenting on individual cases. No tax is levied on charities, and so the forms are primarily used as a transparency tool so donors and the IRS can see how money is raised and spent.

Reuters also found mistakes in three years of tax returns filed by the Clinton Foundation, leading Maura Pally, the foundation’s acting chief executive officer, to post a mea culpa on the charity’s website: “So yes, we made mistakes,” she wrote, “as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them.”

She said they would “likely refile” the forms after their accountants were done reviewing them. Craig Minassian, a foundation spokesman, says this is still underway, according to POLITICO. He also did not respond to requests for comment made by Reuters.

A Clinton Foundation brooch is seen for sale at the Clinton Museum Store in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States April 27, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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