NPR: There's Really No Comparison Between The Trump And Clinton Foundations


"I think they're two very different types of charities," said Larry Noble, a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. "One of them is very professionally run and does a lot of work. The other seems to be more loosely run. And seems to be more focused on Donald Trump."

"It's based on a misunderstanding," Noble said, "either intentional or unintentional, of what kind of charitable foundation it is."

Still, Noble said, appearances matter, "because we're talking about government officials. And the concern is when they get a large contribution, it will influence the decision they make. Even if, as secretary of state, she did not concern herself at all with what big donors wanted, people will think that it did, in fact, influence her. And it undermines the credibility of decisions."
All this leads Noble at the Campaign Legal Center to ask whether Trump is really as generous as he claims to be. "It looks like he's trying to appear that he's very charitable," Noble said. "But if you pull back the curtain, it's grayer than that. It fits into a narrative of him using the charity for purposes of self-promotion."

And, of course, Critics argue that Hillary Clinton has used her family's foundation to promote her own political ambitions. And Noble agrees, to a point. But he says there's an important distinction.


"In the Clinton Foundation, it's really hard to deny they're doing good work," Noble said. "I do think it's fair to say they may have been somewhat tone deaf to some of the things they were doing. And I think that does play into this certain narrative. And it's a narrative she's had to deal with anyway, about trustworthiness."

But Noble added that it would be a mistake to treat the allegations against the Trump and Clinton foundations as equivalent. The two charities are about as different as the candidates themselves.