All that's saying is that you can maintain control over how your charitable donations are spent, NOT that you can use the money for personal gain. The only personal gain one gets from a family foundation is the same for donations to any charity, e.g. tax benefits. From your link: You can even appoint yourself as the trustee of your own Foundation. This way, you maintain control over the assets contained in the Foundation. Instead of making a one-time gift to a public charity (and losing control of that gift), you can monitor your favorite charities. If one non-profit changes its focus, or if a more meaningful cause comes along, you can reallocate your Foundation's support. (and) Private Family Foundations have special tax advantages, because they are considered "charitable organizations" themselves. Because of this classification, any earnings on Foundation assets are tax-exempt, and can be distribute to the charities you choose. If established properly, a private family foundation can often avoid capital gains taxes on highly-appreciated assets (see below). In addition, interest and investment earnings that are not slapped with an income tax can instead be used to help the charities or causes you support. Etc. _____ It's only shrewd in the fact that they have more control over the money being used in the (charitable) manner they prefer. Literally.... Even if you take all the accusations at face value... the Clinton's are being accused of "abusing" their positions of power to get rich people to give money to help poor people.