Clinton Foundation and United Way: Is the Charity Giant a Slow-Moving Aramony Scandal?
It’s no secret that I think America’s biggest abuse problems aren’t opioids, alcohol, or tobacco, they’re power and money. Like any other addiction, this illness is killing us all.
Any pushback I get on criticism of Clinton Foundation or Trump-era excesses sounds as familiar to me as the crow who greets his mates every morning at 5:00 outside my window. It’s the inchoate guilt and rage of the alcoholic told he’s sucking up too much of the sauce or the 4 pack-a-day smoker informed their coffin nails are killing them.
This morning I realized: we’ve been trapped in this slow-mo trainwreck on the Clinton Express for a quarter of a century.
The 1992 United Way scandal that nearly took down the nationwide charity network should have led to lasting change. Unfortunately, William Aramony’s massive ego, teenage mistresses and a taste for yachts, champagne, and lobster dinners, were nearly forgotten by the time the New York Times wrote a wistful obit for the old stinker in 2011. In 1995, Aramony was convicted of a measly $600,000 in fraud and the sordid details of his sexual and romantic adventures with three Florida sisters were splashed all over PEOPLE. Then they were cast aside. An isolated incident. Senate Majority “Leader” Mitch McConnell’s WIFE, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, was brought in to fix the United Way’s ‘image’ and save their bacon. That’s not a good thing.
Aramony was notable for his argument that a charitable executive should receive high pay commensurate with the organization’s board members. His idea was that he should be able to live the same lifestyle as the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in order to work effectively with them. This concept justifying high charitable exec pay is standard doctrine at big charities today. Aramony’s downfall and the reasons contributing to it have been analyzed by Harvard Business School’s Barbara Kellerman in her book Bad Leadership. (Note: I don’t recommend spending $40 for this book or for others by her but if you can get a free copy you may enjoy reading it — don’t miss her chapter that criticizes Bill Clinton for not understanding foreign countries, i.e. for not paying attention to the Rwandan genocide. Barbara, I got a note for ya — our friend Blow Job Bill has learned and forgotten more than you can ever imagine about Rwandans. He sees black Africans and black Americans as commodities not people). Aramony supersized charity by consolidating decent local organizations into a giant national slurge. Sound familiar?
So yeah, Aramony. The guy that took huge amounts of the charitable donations of hourly workers (“Fair Share” donations were 1 hour of pay per week) and spent them on his Potomac yacht, teen mistresses (3 sisters) from Florida, and trips to Europe and Vegas.
My first fulltime job was working for the United Way. I was a gung-ho young fundraiser and campaigner. Even though I was with a small United Way (they were ranked by community size at the time and likely still are) our organization raised a lot of money for our community’s size. As I’ve written before, one of my two hometowns was Redlands, California — a small town noted for its community spirit and many cultural traditions. The town is also literally bisected between “rich” and “poor” by Interstate 10, and it’s also deeply divided along racial lines. Putting that aside —
I was a young United Way campaigner and my coworker and I attended this conference for United Way professionals at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey. We were “two blondes on the loose” and having a great time. There was just one fly in the ointment: Aramony.
We were all (like hundreds of people) demanded to buy Aramony’s book as “admission” at this conference. Aramony gave this extremely boring, self-centered, content-free speech.
We sort of laughed it off but being forced to buy the book and having to listen to that self-serving speech left a bad taste in my mouth. I started thinking, “It’s just not rewarding to raise money. I want to actually help people.” Before that I had been concerned about “rising up” in the United Way hierarchy. I even met with a regional Communications group and became the chair. I was mentored by my boss at our United Way, a brilliant and ethical retired USAF colonel, and by the man who’d united all the United Ways in Orange County, a brilliant and ethical leader named Merritt Johnson. I was interviewing for jobs all over the country. I could have risen: and not by sleeping with them. But Aramony? Aramony rubbed me the wrong way. My instinct was that he wasn’t like my boss or Merritt. He was not a good man.
So the next year when the lady who had been the director of our town’s largest, oldest, most influential charity retired, I applied for the job. At age 24, I became the Executive Director of the first registered nonprofit in the state of California. Family Service Association’s mission was “to alleviate poverty and encourage self sufficiency.” Considering that the day I arrived there were 3 employees, 1 full time volunteer and 1 official voucher stamp that we all shared, the group did a pretty good job of achieving its mission with limited resources.
I spent half of my working life working for nonprofits. Ten years at Family Service and six years at Beyond Shelter. I was a United Way Kellogg Board Member trainer and I have served as a board member of a number of charitable organizations and boards with missions ranging from affordable housing to education to elder care to domestic violence. I am founding Treasurer of Book View Cafe, the largest and one of the first author publishing cooperatives. I am a recent graduate trustee of my former Alma Mater Scripps College, and I was treasurer of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for 5 years and served as reincorporation treasurer.
I have an executive and board member knowledge of “best practices” in the nonprofit industry. From my side of it, much like Charles Ortel on his, I can read through any financial statement and tax return to see the truth (or falsehood) beneath it.
I just read in the New York Times that one of Aramony’s defenses in his charity fraud trial was that his 37-member board comprised of Fortune 500 CEOs and AFL-CIO union leaders overlooked his personal excesses and misuse of charitable funds because he “raised so much money.”
Aramony’s story is America’s story. He just abused one too many people. If he had been a little more subdued in his maltreatment of employees, he would have retired at age 75 or 80. Heck he might have died in his United Way chair and been on his fifth set of young teen mistresses if he’d been a little nicer to his employees. See, I know some inside scuttlebutt: Aramony got dimed out to the feds. He went a bridge too far in treating his subordinates like crap.
I was a UW fundraiser in the days when the NFL made commercials for them for free and they were aired all over every NFL game. I was a UW fundraiser in the days when “Fair Share” was voluntary to every employee of every company I went to, and when unions considered it was an obligation for their members to be “Fair Share” givers. This underlying concept is as socialist as all get-out.
And Aramony was the man who would be King off the backs of all those retail employees, factory floor workers, food service workers, city employees, nurses, and teachers.
You really have not seen meanness until you’ve witnessed a United Way allocations committee battle over which “member agency” will get their pennies. The donation part was socialist. The distribution? All capitalism baby and as mean as it comes.
So a lot of people don’t get why I spent so much time and effort looking into the Clinton Foundation.
They’re sub-UW level. Like — sub, sub, sub, sub, sub United Way and then some.
There’s more than enough information in the articles I wrote about the Clinton Foundation to do them an Aramony conviction a hundred times over. It isn’t a matter of them having limited outcomes. The only outcomes the Clinton Foundation has are negative. The organization officially took in over $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) over 20 years and has literally nothing to show for it. No scholarships, no structures, no endowments, no donations or grants, no measurable outcomes of any kind. They tell the public that they have no government grants: in reality they have millions, all of which were inappropriately spent with dozens of audit exceptions. Their vaunted AIDS ‘programs’ consist of forcing poor nations to buy substandard drugs from Indian generic drug makers. They “deliver clean water” to underserved nations by receiving cash to take a picture with Proctor & Gamble employees standing in front of Africans.
The library building in Little Rock was paid for and is maintained by the local government (taxpayer money). All of this money has been expended on Clintons, salaries for hundreds of nonproducing employees (old Aramony just paid those 3 Florida girls and their rent in a DC apartment) and gala meetings for Fortune 500 people and celebrities.
If the general public were aware of the extreme difference between what they think “charity” is and what the Clinton Foundation does — the extent of the lies they tell in every single dimension — they wouldn’t have any suspended sentence or have the liberty to die in genteel disgrace like Aramony.
The Clinton Foundation is a literal betrayal of every value 99% of this country has worked all their lives for and believes in. It’s a thousand thousand times worse than Aramony. It’s worse than Herbalife and any MLM company. It’s worse than Bernard Madoff. It’s even worse than Wells Fargo and Mnuchin. The big difference? It’s called a “charity” and it’s always been 100% all for them and this is written and recorded on their website, tax returns, and ‘audited’ (I use the term loosely) financial statements. The Clinton “charity” is is the equivalent of Aramony staying on the job and telling the public that his teen mistresses were a United Way agency and deserved an allocation —
and getting away with it.
Look at this smack. The “farm” is a for profit enterprise (of course it turns no profit and they pay no tax). Helping women and girls is a NAME. It is literally two phrases written on a web page. If anybody doesn’t know about Haiti “hurricane rebuilding” efforts by now they’ve been living on Mars.
Money goes into this joint but it don’t come out just like Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down.
There are 2 people primarily responsible for Donald J. Trump being President: Mr. Trump. And Hillary Clinton.
Fact. Not fiction. I couldn’t write anything that crazy.