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The Clinton Foundation has received significant attention lately with former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's interest in becoming president.

The foundation was set up soon after former President Bill Clinton left office in 2000. It has a variety of purposes to help people around the world, including prevention and treatment for malaria and other diseases, increasing access to vaccines and building health care systems, to name a few. The foundation does good work around the world — and receives donations from around the world.

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Was it a conflict of interest for Hillary Clinton to serve as secretary of state while her husband raised funds for the Clinton Foundation? Is it a conflict for her to run for president while he continues to raise funds for the foundation? These seem to be the questions and the target of attacks from some conservatives.

The attacks, however, seem to ignore the fact that all modern-day presidents have established presidential foundations after leaving office. The folks who are critical of the Clintons for raising foundation funds while a member of their immediate family serves in a national office or runs for a national office seem to ignore the same behavior by former Republican presidents.

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President George H. W. Bush, for example, established the George Bush Foundation prior to his son, George W. Bush, running for and becoming president. The Bush Foundation continued to collect donations throughout George W. Bush's presidency, just as the Clinton Foundation continued to collect donations throughout Hillary Clinton's term as secretary of state. Today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is running for president while both his father and brother raise millions of dollars for their presidential foundations.

I've heard the criticism that some Clinton Foundation donations come from international donors. Indeed, this is true. But it's also true that all modern-day presidential foundations have international donors, including both Bush family foundations. The real question is not who accepted money from international donors, but do the foundations reveal the names of donors? All donors to the Clinton Foundation are made public and have been made public since Hillary Clinton became secretary of state — a policy most of the other presidential foundations follow to some degree.

In addition to the foundation that supports The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Bush senior created a fund to support the Daily Point of Light Award which, according to its web site, celebrates "the power of individuals, alone and working together, to spark change and improve the world." And when his daughter died, the family started the Bright Star Foundation to support leukemia research. All of these Bush family foundations collected donations throughout George W. Bush's presidency and continue to collect donations as Jeb Bush runs for president. All of them have accepted money from international donors.

In my research going back to President Dwight Eisenhower — whose foundation had assets of about $1 million and collected $700,000 in donations in 2013 — I found the President Jimmy Carter Foundation had the richest foundation with $584 million in assets, followed by the George W. Bush Foundation with $391 million (most of this going to build his presidential library), and the Clinton Foundation with $381 million.

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In 2013, the Reagan Foundation reported $274 million in assets, followed by the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation with $162 million. The John F. Kennedy Foundation last reported assets of $50 million.

Most of these foundations are aimed at supporting a former president's library and museum. Others, like the George H. W. Bush, Carter and Clinton Foundations, support other causes domestically and around the world.

Are these foundations a conflict of interest for candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Perhaps.

But I would be less concerned about the known money donated to these family foundations, and more concerned about the dark money pouring into their political campaigns.

Tom Zirpoli writes from Westminster. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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