The William J. Clinton Foundation may have been the big beneficiary of ex-President Bill Clinton's "birthday" bash in Toronto on Saturday night. An estimated $2.5 million to $3 million was raised for the foundation's work to ease AIDS and poverty in Africa.
But as with so much of what Clinton does, there were other reasons to push the Toronto event, which was held during the Toronto International Film Festival to ensure that the proper celebrity wattage could attend.
According to Clinton insiders, a number of foreign-owned corporations with interests in the United States were encouraged by the Toronto event organizers to pony up as much as $200,000 for a ten-seat table at the birthday bash, because doing so would ensure that both the former President and current Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would be appreciative of their support.
Senator Clinton has no connection to her husband's philanthropic operation. "But the message was pretty clear," says an executive with a foreign-owned bank that does not operate in the U.S., but has clients in America. "If we wanted some access to Senator Clinton, the foundation would be a good way to facilitate some access for our issues."
A number of tables at the event were purchased at the corporate level of $200,000. Others were bought for prices as "low" as $50,000.
Aides to Senator Clinton insisted that the foundation has no influence whatsoever with the operations of her Capitol Hill office. Nonetheless, the Senator was front and center at the birthday gala in Toronto, and is expected to be highly visible at a planned October "birthday" event for Clinton with the Rolling Stones.
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