Hillary and Bill Clinton, shown in 2008, are raising money for their newly renamed foundation.

., Associated Press file

Clintons busy with quest for cash to finance their charitable foundation

  • Article by: Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger
  • Washington Post
  • August 25, 2013 - 9:19 PM


The Clintons are in fundraising mode again, inviting supporters to a musical weekend in London, a “night out” in San Francisco with Hillary and Chelsea and — in a select series of private one-on-one meetings — the opportunity to write a check for $5 million to $10 million.

The invitations resemble those of past campaigns. But this current quest for cash, which shifts into high gear this fall, is not to fund a run for political office. It is to boost the financial standing of the newly re-christened Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

As he contemplates his legacy, the former president is trying to build an endowment with the declared goal of $200 million to $250 million to ensure that his charitable foundation lives on after his death. Its causes are expanding from those he champions — fighting AIDS, climate change and global poverty — to include newer priorities embraced by Hillary and Chelsea. And that means more fundraising.

“We had to have another way to raise the funds that we need in order to keep the lights on,” said Bruce Lindsey, chairman of the foundation. “You cannot continue to rely upon a single individual to raise all the money you need to raise on a yearly basis. First of all, it is unbelievably grueling on President Clinton, and second of all, if anything were to happen to him it would end.”

While this fundraising push is philanthropic in nature, there are political implications. There is an unspoken deadline, for example. Clinton insiders said they hope the drive will be completed before the 2016 presidential campaign so that if Hillary Clinton chooses to run, the foundation fundraising would not distract from her campaign.

“It’s the optics of it — it would be horrible,” said one Clinton Foundation fundraiser who requested anonymity. “They just want to get it done to give her the option so if she wants to run, the foundation is taken care of.” As she broadens her public profile with a series of major policy addresses, the Clinton Foundation has become her command post. She is building a staff at its New York headquarters and starting programs on early childhood development and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

But some allies already see signs that the newly reorganized charity is a “pre-campaign organization.”

“People are tripping over themselves to contribute to the foundation now,” said one Clinton ally, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

On their schedule

• On Friday, a fundraiser was held at celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

• Sept. 9, another is planned at the Italian Embassy in Washington.

• Oct. 11-12, all three Clintons will be at the London concert weekend.

• Nov. 9 in San Francisco, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton will host a “Millennium Network” event.

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