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Liberal group to Clinton: Foreign donors 'entirely inappropriate'

A progressive group is calling on Clinton to return foreign contributions to her family's foundation.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the 30th Anniversary National Conference of EMILY's List on March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the 30th Anniversary National Conference of EMILY's List on March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Now Republicans aren't the only ones criticizing Hillary Clinton's family foundation for accepting of money from foreign governments.

On Friday morning, the liberal group CREDO, which has 3.5 million members, launched a campaign calling on the Clinton Foundation to return foreign contributions. Of particular to concern for CREDO, which opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, is the revelation last month that a Canadian government agency responsible for pushing the pipeline donated to the foundation.

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“Ominously for our fight to block the Keystone XL pipeline, the Clintons’ foundation has also accepted contributions from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development agency of Canada, whose top priorities for this year include promoting approval of Keystone XL,” the group wrote to its supporters. “This constitutes a significant conflict of interest as Hillary Clinton moves toward her near-certain presidential campaign.”

The charitable foundation that bears Clinton's name stopped accepting donations from foreign governments when she served as secretary of state, but quietly started taking them again after she stepped down in 2013. That revelation raised new questions about potential conflicts of interest and earned flack from Republicans. 

Now, CREDO's campaign asks supporters to sign a petition calling on Clinton to “immediately return Clinton Foundation contributions from foreign governments.”

“It is entirely inappropriate for the foundation which bears her name to be accepting contributions from foreign governments, especially those lobbying on hotly contested fights like Keystone XL,” CREDO continues. “If elected president, Hillary Clinton will face major decisions on energy and foreign policy — and it’s not as if she will be able to recuse herself from these decisions because of possible conflict arising from past contributions to her foundation.”

President Obama told Reuters last week that he plans to make a final decision on the pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to the Gulf Coast, before he leaves office.

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Other liberal groups that oppose Keystone have also been disconcerted by the donations to the Clinton Foundation. "This is deeply concerning," Ben Schreiber, the climate and energy program director for Friends of the Earth, told National Journal.

But it’s exceedingly rare for liberal groups — even those trying to draft Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race — to organize a campaign directly targeting Clinton.

The former secretary of state has declined to take a position on the Keystone pipeline, since the State Department's review process is ongoing.