House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Bill and Hillary Clinton "will have to answer for the foundation," suggesting that the public will care more about conflict-of-interest allegations than Clinton campaign officials say will be the case.
Pelosi's distancing from the Clinton nonprofit in an interview with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts came on the same day the New York Times reported that a charity focused on building schools donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation after Bill Clinton agreed to speak at a gala for the smaller nonprofit.
Pelosi's response is the biggest crack in the Clinton Foundation armor so far because of her position as the party's leader in the House and because she has said she backs Hillary Clinton for president. It could give political cover for other Democrats to distance themselves from the Clintons' operation of their foundation.
On Thursday, senior Clinton campaign officials insisted voters aren't being swayed by a series of stories about the Clintons raising money for themselves and the foundation from entities with business before the federal government. They said they would answer questions about the foundation as they arise but don't believe it will damage or distract Clinton.
Pelosi said that having Bill Clinton speak could have increased contributions to the school-building charity, but she pointedly declined to stick her neck out for him or Hillary Clinton.
There's "no question" they'll have to address questions about the foundation, Pelosi said.
A spokesman from Pelosi's office disputed the characterization of minority leader. "This is a completely inaccurate characterization of the Leader's remarks," said Drew Hammill. "Leader Pelosi complimented President Clinton on his work on behalf of various causes and only said she wasn't going to respond to this story."
The Republican National Committee emailed a clip of the interview to reporters.