Clinton Foundation plans to close overseas fundraising arms
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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she stands onstage with her husband former President Bill Clinton (L) and her daughter Chelsea (R) after speaking during her California primary night rally held in the Brooklyn borough of New
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By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation will shut down its fundraising affiliates in Sweden and the United Kingdom if Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidency in November, a spokesman for the global charity said this week.
The foundation has in recent weeks begun announcing planned new donor restrictions to allay criticism that wealthy supporters might be expecting special treatment from the U.S. government in return.
Both the William J. Clinton Foundation UK in London and the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse in Stockholm will close if Clinton becomes president because of their acceptance of foreign funding, Brian Cookstra, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation in New York, said in one of a series of emails responding to questions from Reuters.
Both organizations exist to receive donations overseas, neither have any employees, and they are overseen by board members of the main Clinton Foundation in the United States, their financial statements show.
Some of the foundation's foreign outposts have drawn extra scrutiny because donors can give money anonymously.
The foundation said last month it would no longer accept foreign funding for at least some of its work if Clinton is elected, although Donald Trump, Clinton's Republican rival for the presidency, continues to accuse Clinton of being corrupted by foreign donors. She has dismissed this as a political smear.
In order to become President Barack Obama's secretary of state in 2009, Clinton signed an ethics agreement promising to annually publish the names of all donors to her family's philanthropy, including foreign governments that have collectively given tens of millions of dollars.
Clinton also promised that her charities would seek prior approval from the State Department's ethics office before accepting new donations from foreign governments.
The charities have since conceded they did not keep these promises, blaming oversights. (http://reut.rs/2c7iqgk)
The foundation's outpost in Stockholm has received nearly 270 million Swedish crowns, about $30 million, since it was established in 2011, while Clinton was still secretary of state.
Most of this money was given by the Swedish Postcode Lottery and the Dutch Postcode Lottery, according to the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse's website.
About $6 million came from other donors that are not disclosed by the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse. Cookstra said those donors were included in the donor list published on the main Clinton Foundation's website but declined to identify them or say why they were donating in Sweden rather than the United States.
The foundation also declined to explain a discrepancy in donations in records from 2012. The Swedish Postcode Lottery Foundation said it donated 6.6 million crowns (about $1 million) that year, but the Clinton Foundation reported this amount as 19.7 million crowns (about $3 million).
Cookstra also declined to say whether the foundation has other fundraising arms set up in foreign countries besides the United Kingdom and Sweden.
The British arm of the Clinton Foundation has raised at least $400,000 since 2007, according to records held by the British government's Charity Commission.
The State Department says it has no record of being notified about the foundation's overseas outposts during Clinton's tenure.
"The State Department was not responsible for monitoring or approving the organization and operation of the Clinton Foundation or its offshoots," Elizabeth Trudeau, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement. "The Department reviewed all information submitted to it. You would need to ask the Foundation whether there were additional matters that it should have submitted for State Department review."
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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