As a result of revelations that RI has been paying membership fees to the Clinton Global Initiative as described by Secretary Hewko (click here for details), we were curious about similar payments to other organizations. We have asked for specific information and will post RI's response when it is received.  A copy of our request is posted at the bottom of this page.

In the meantime, a survey of financial information published on the Rotary website has discovered that The Rotary Foundation has increased its annual lobbying expense from  $321K in 2010 to $998K in 2013. This is a screen dump from the TRF IRS 2013-14 Form 990 as published. Here is a link to the actual form (this image was captured from page 19):

We note with concern an excerpt from the TRF Constitution published in the 2013 RI Manual of Procedure which appears to prohibit this activity:


Here is the text our email to RI General Secretary John Hewko and RI Public Relations specialist Jane Lawicki requesting additional information on RI's relationship with the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. This also includes a request for information concerning The Rotary Foundation's lobbying activities as noted above. 

Dear Jane;

Rotarian Marilyn Axler gave me your email.  Thanks for offering to provide insight on the relationship between RI and the Clinton Foundation. Here is a note I sent to Secretary Hewko on Monday evening.  I'm looking forward to hearing from one or both of you,


Bill Phillips

RC of Lawrenceburg (TN, USA -- District 6760)


On Mon, May 11, 2015 at 8:43 PM, Bill Phillips <personal email address redacted> wrote:

Dear Secretary Hewko;

Thank you for providing a telephone contact where concerned Rotarians may get answers to questions on RI's relationship with the embattled Clinton Foundation. Rather than depend on voice communications which can easily become garbled or misunderstood, would you or someone on your staff be kind enough to answer the following via email?


1.  What is the total amount of contributions or membership fees RI has contributed to the Clinton Foundation since 2011?

2.  Did the RI Board of Directors authorize these expenditures, or are these an initiative from the Secretariat?

3.  Who are the senior leaders who have attended CGI meetings?

4.  What measurable results have been achieved from RI attendance at these meetings?

5.  Has RI applied for a complimentary membership to CGI similar to that offered by WEF? Please note that the CF FAQ page lists that such memberships are available on a competitive basis.

6.  In light of the negative publicity CGI has received in recent weeks, does RI intend to continue its relationship with this group?

7.  With what other organizations do we have similar relationships?

8.  How much does RI or TRF pay in membership fees or otherwise contribute to these organizations?


A study of TRF's published IRS 990 forms shows a reported lobbying expense of $997,565, an amount triple the annual lobbying expenditures prior to 2011.


9.  What is the nature of this lobbying expense?

10.  Where have the additional funds been directed?

11.  What measurable outcomes have resulted from this added expense?

12.  What is the projected expense for 2014-15?

13.  Does TRF plan to continue this activity?


Thanks again for offering transparency on this subject.  Please be aware of my intention to publish these questions on the Linked In forums unless specifically requested to hold in confidence.


Yours in Rotary Service;

Bill Phillips

RC of Lawrenceburg, TN (USA - District 6760)

(Personal email address redacted)

 Click Here to View a Response to questions 1 thru 8 from Rotary International. 

Click Here to View a Response to questions 9 thru 13 from TRF Trustee Mike McGovern.