IRS Commissioner John Koskinenreferred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”
The initiative is being led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees FTC. The FTC regulates public charities alongside the IRS.
The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.”
Koskinen’s July 22 reply came only a week after the House Republicans contacted the tax agency. It arrived to their offices Monday, the first opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“We have forwarded the information you have submitted to our Exempt Organizations Program in Dallas,” Koskinen told the Republicans.
The Exempt Organization Program is the division of the IRS that regulates the operations of public foundations and charities. It’s the same division that was led by former IRS official Lois Lerner when hundreds of conservative, evangelical and tea party non-profit applicants were illegally targeted and harassed by tax officials.
Blackburn told TheDCNF she believes the IRS has a double standard because, “they would go after conservative groups and religious groups and organizations, but they wouldn’t be looking at the Clinton Foundation for years. It was as if they choose who they are going to audit and question. It’s not right.”
Blackburn said she and her colleagues will “continue to push” for answers on the Clinton Foundation’s governing policies, including its insular board of directors. She said they also will examine conflicts of interest and “follow the money trail.”
“In my opinion, there’s a lack of good governance, there is the appearance of conflicts of interest, and there are continued questions about the financial dealings,” she told TheDCNF.
House Republicans singled out Laureate Education and Uranium One as two companies that seemed to have paid lavish sums to the Clintons and later received official government benefits.
Laureate hired former President Bill Clinton as “honorary chancellor,” paying him $16.5 million over five years. The Baltimore-based company, which operates for-profit universities in 28 countries, also donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to the foundation’s web site.