Quick Takes: The Other Side of the Clinton Foundation Story

* As the Executive Director of Amref Health Africa, Robert Kelty has seen the work of the Clinton Foundation up close and personal. He tells the side of the story that is missing from all the headlines lately.

For those of us who work in the US nonprofit sector, and global development and philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation has been a willing and innovative partner for 15 years. Like any large-scale non-governmental organization, the Clinton Foundation has seen both success and disappointment in its efforts. But overall, its presence and energy — and Bill Clinton’s commitment to leverage his political and social capital — have made significant contributions to the work of my peers and me.

The growing politicization of philanthropy represents a real danger to the nonprofit sector, not just in the United States, but around the world. If the Clinton Foundation can be forced to shut its doors, what are the chances that future presidents and public figures will put their reputations on the line to be forces for good in the world? How much social and financial capital will remain on the sidelines out of fear of motives being questioned? By shutting down CGI, who will convene NGOs, governments, and corporations at the highest levels to form innovative partnerships?

More broadly, can we in the not-for-profit sector allow ignorance about our work to triumph?

* Lauren Fox and Annie Rees provide us with a timeline that demonstrates the disarray we’ve seen in the Trump campaign about immigration over the last week and a half. David Krutz asks if this is how a Trump White House would operate.

Yes, you should have been skeptical all along that much was going to change, or that any change would be more than window dressing. But there was ample evidence from Trump himself and his aides that some sort of shift was afoot. It wasn’t just media hype or cluelessness. What emerges from the timeline is how utterly unmoored and erratic Trump and his campaign are. Nothing captured that quite like the day and night contrast between Mexico City yesterday afternoon and Phoenix last night. But the timeline shows that’s consistent with the same erratic dance Team Trump has been performing for a week and a half.

* I give you…Charles Pierce.

Quite simply, for almost 98 minutes, the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties did a very convincing imitation of someone who should not be allowed out in public without a keeper, and whose keeper should not be allowed anywhere near him without a net, sufficient backup, and a tranquilizer gun capable of inducing coma in a herd of drunken elephants.

Again, this was the only story to be covered on Wednesday night. It obliterated the earlier dog-and-pony show in Mexico. It made a jackass out of every member of the media who ever has used the word “presidential” in any connection with El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago, and particularly those members of the media who got played for suckers on Wednesday afternoon.

* Once again we learn that no, voter fraud is actually not a problem.

A News21 analysis four years ago of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states found that while some fraud had occurred since 2000, the rate was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million registered voters in that 12-year span. The analysis found only 10 cases of voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls.

This year, News21 reviewed cases in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas, where politicians have expressed concern about voter fraud and found hundreds of allegations but few prosecutions between 2012 and 2016. Attorneys general in those states successfully prosecuted 38 cases of vote fraud, though other cases may have been litigated at the county level. At least one-third of those cases involved nonvoters, such as elections officials or volunteers. None of the cases prosecuted was for voter impersonation.

“Voter fraud is not a significant problem in the country,” Jennifer Clark of the Brennan Center told News21. “As the evidence that has come out in some recent court cases and reports and basically every analysis that has ever been done has concluded: It is not a significant concern.”

* This is me playing the world’s tiniest violin for these folks.

Bank trade groups and industry advisers are debating the possibility of legally challenging the Federal Reserve in an attempt to force changes to annual “stress tests” of the biggest U.S. lenders, people familiar with the talks said.

Even if banks ultimately decide against action, serious contemplation of such a challenge is somewhat extraordinary. It shows growing frustration among big financial firms with the tests, which have become even more of a burden with superlow interest rates weighing on profits.

The discussions are at an early stage and big banks are divided over whether the talks should continue, the people familiar with the matter said…

The discussions have centered on legal strategies that would allow a challenge to the stress tests, with much of the focus on their opacity and how the Fed changes certain aspects of the exams each year.

* Finally, Congressman John Lewis is 76 years old. But when he shows up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, you’ll want to come for the civil rights history lesson and stay for the crowd surfing (no, I’m not kidding).

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.