WikiLeaks emails show Clinton campaign anxious about foundation wage gap

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has come under fire over the wage gap between men and women’s salaries at the Clinton Foundation, somewhat embarrassing for a political candidate who is an advocate of women’s rights and has made equal pay a pillar of her campaign.

The foundation’s top salaries are published and made public via the 990 tax form for non-profit charities. The document shows a large imbalance in compensation between the genders, where males executives make $81,000 more in 2014 on average compared to their female counterparts.

WikiLeaks published emails that reveal Clinton’s campaign staff was aware of the differences, and concerned about the media coverage it would receive. During that time, Clinton’s staff salaries from her tenure as a U.S. senator from New York were being scrutinized closely.

According to internal emails, the Clinton campaign was concerned that “huge discrepancies” in foundation salaries would be made public by news outlets.

However, as PolitiFact notes, analyzing wage gaps is tricky business since there are so many variables. Calculations depend on whether you use median or average salary, if total benefits are included, or how comparisons between different leadership levels are measured. Differences in calculation method will result in different numbers.

It is important to note that the pay gap does not prove gender discrimination at the Clinton Foundation, which is what Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was referring to when he accused Clinton of “hypocrisy.”

In a post on Instagram in May, Trump said, “Hypocrisy at the Clinton Foundation: Top male staff made on average $218,029 while top female staff made $153,014 from 2010-2014.”

“If you allow some leeway on what accounts for top staff, Trump is close on the numbers,” wrote PolitiFact senior correspondent Louis Jacobson. “But the statistical pool is too limited and the methodology is too crude to demonstrate evidence of hypocrisy. Trump is guilty of ignoring the nuances of gender-based wage disparities, just as Democrats often over-simplify the meaning of the 77-cent figure.”

Even though there is no evidence of discrimination, Clinton Foundation wage numbers still reflect poorly on Clinton, who has made equal pay a key policy objective.

 

[CNN Money] [PolitiFact] [Image courtesy Reuters via the Wall Street Journal]