Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina has made defunding Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her campaign - she even promised to shut down the government to halt federal funding to the group - but the organization that controls Fiorina's charitable group, the Fiorina Foundation, has given nearly half a million dollars to Planned Parenthood since 2011, according to a new report from The Daily Beast
The Fiorina Foundation is not technically a charitable organization, The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi explained, but rather, it is the name of the account Fiorina and her husband have with the donor-advised fund The Ayco Charitable Foundation, through which the Fiorinas "distribute undisclosed sums to undisclosed recipients at undisclosed times."
The Ayco Charitable Foundation essentially manages philanthropic funds for a number of clients and makes donations on their behalf. Between 2011 and 2013, the foundation collectively donated $467,275 to various Planned Parenthood locations, according to its tax information.
"In other words," wrote Nuzzi, "Fiorina has entrusted her money with an organization that funneled nearly half a million dollars into Planned Parenthood."
Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Fiorina's campaign, told Nuzzi that Fiorina and her husband "absolutely have say over where their money goes and don't have say over where other people's money goes," and argued that the donations to Planned Parenthood don't "implicate Carly's money or foundation."
When asked how much money Fiorina donates and to which charitable causes, Flores said "she has given to dozens of charities, including those that support veterans, education and their local community."
When asked to name the charities, Flores was just as vague, saying, "It's a lot of charities and I'm not going to release names which will cause a headache for some of the smaller organizations."
After being pressed to specify how many charities, she replied, "I'd just say dozens. I don't have an exact number."
Nuzzi then asked if Fiorina "has a problem with Ayco distributing funds to Planned Parenthood," to which Flores responded, "Carly has no control over those clients and their giving preferences."
And while that may be true, and it may not currently be possible to determine if Ayco actually donated Fiorina's money to Planned Parenthood, Ruzzi hit the nail on the head by concluding that "if Fiorina feels as strongly as she claims that it's an abomination for American tax dollars - including hers - to be forced to help fund Planned Parenthood, it's perplexing that she would elect to be associated with any group that feels comfortable giving money to Planned Parenthood by choice - on behalf of an individual or not."
Flores didn't respond when asked why Fiorina doesn't entrust her charitable givings to a donor-advised fund that promises not to give money to Planned Parenthood.