Hillary Clinton says her family's foundation is looking for partners

August 26, 2016 9:14 AM EDT

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd with her husband, former president Bill Clinton at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 30, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said on Friday the Clinton Foundation was seeking other organizations to partner with as it looks to wind down some of its charitable work, but defended her work as secretary of state as independent from her family's foundation.

Clinton has come under fire in recent days amid questions over the charity and its donors given her role heading the State Department from 2009 to early 2013. Critics have accused her of running a "pay-for-play" operation, a charge she and the foundation have denied. Even some supporters have said Clinton faces a perception problem over the issue.

"I know the foundation is looking for partners, but that's going to take some time to carry out," Clinton said in an interview on MSNBC. "Winding down some of these programs takes time. You don't just turn on and off ... a switch. Even trying to negotiate with partner groups takes a lot of serious effort."

"My work as secretary of state was not influenced by any outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right to keep Americans safe and to protect our interests abroad. I believe my aides also acted appropriately," she said.

Several media editorial boards this week noted the foundation's philanthropic efforts in areas such as global health and HIV/AIDS, but urged the foundation - formally called the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation - to transfer the work to other large U.S. charities.

Former President Bill Clinton, who helped establish the global charity after serving two terms in the White House, would resign from the board if his wife wins the Nov. 8 election, the foundation announced last week. It also said it would stop accepting some foreign and corporate donations.

Hillary Clinton's Republican rival for the White House, Donald Trump, and other Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to probe the charity for possible corruption, an accusation her campaign has called a groundless political smear.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Mohammad Zargham and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry)

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