FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: State Dept. Releases Donor List for 'Patrons of Diplomacy'

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

Revealed: The State Department’s Hidden Hillary Donors

By Shane Harris and Jackie Kucinich, The Daily Beast, May 26, 2016

More than a dozen donors to Clinton’s non-profit foundation and her various political campaigns poured money into an endowment she launched into 2010 to pay for the upkeep of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. The 42 sumptuous salons at State Department headquarters in Washington, decorated with 18th and 19th century American furnishings, are used to welcome foreign dignitaries, conduct diplomatic meetings and swearing-in ceremonies, and host official dinners.

By the following year, the campaign had raised more than $20 million to permanently fund restoration and maintenance for the rooms and their collections of rare American artwork, thanks largely to reliable Clinton donors.

Nearly half of the 37 people and organizations who donated to the State Department campaign, known as Patrons of Diplomacy, also gave money to the Clinton Foundation, according to State Department and foundation records. Of the eleven people who served as co-chairs for the campaign, agreeing to contribute their own money or to help raise funds from others, six also gave to the Clinton Foundation, a global charity started by former President Bill Clinton.

Until this week the State Department seemed inclined to keep the names of these patrons private. When The Daily Beast initially asked to see the donor list, a department spokesperson said that it was already the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Republican National Committee, and therefore couldn’t yet be released. (The RNC has filed six lawsuits against the State Department related to Clinton’s tenure, focused on potential conflicts of interest with her and her aides’ work for the foundation, as well as her use of a private email server for official business.)

But if the State Department wanted to keep the donors from public scrutiny, it’s not clear why their names are inscribed on a wall, located on a terrace off one of the reception rooms, with a sweeping view of the National Mall.

Read more here.