[Marxism] Donations to Foundation Vexed Hillary Clinton’s Aides, Emails Show
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 27 08:24:03 MDT 2016
(The next four years promises to be stormy. This article reflects a
political tin ear that will lead to stormy confrontations not only with
the ultraright but the left as well, at least that part of the left that
has not conned itself into thinking that Clinton has some kind of
NY Times, Oct. 27 2016
Donations to Foundation Vexed Hillary Clinton’s Aides, Emails Show
By STEVE EDER and AMY CHOZICK
In the years before Hillary Clinton announced she would run again for
president, her top aides expressed profound concerns in internal emails
about how foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s
own moneymaking ventures would affect Mrs. Clinton’s political future.
The emails, obtained by hackers and being gradually released by
WikiLeaks this month, also are revealing how efforts to minimize
potential conflicts at the foundation led to power struggles and
infighting among aides and Mrs. Clinton’s family.
One top aide to Mr. Clinton, Douglas J. Band, noted in an email that the
former president had received personal income from some foundation
donors and “gets many expensive gifts from them.”
Chelsea Clinton accused her father’s aides of taking “significant sums
of money from my parents personally,” of “hustling” during foundation
events to win clients for their own business, and of even installing
spyware on her chief of staff’s computer.
Hillary Clinton, another email showed, had promised to attend a Clinton
Foundation gathering in Morocco at the behest of its king, who had
pledged $12 million to the charity. Her advisers worried that would look
unseemly just as she was beginning her presidential campaign in earnest.
“She created this mess and she knows it,” a close aide, Huma Abedin,
wrote of Mrs. Clinton in a January 2015 email.
For months, the Clintons have defended their foundation, making public
proclamations that it went above and beyond what the law required in
terms of transparency while Mrs. Clinton was at the State Department.
The emails, which came from the account of John D. Podesta, who had a
leadership role at the foundation and is now Mrs. Clinton’s campaign
chairman, have not contained evidence to support Republican contentions
that Mrs. Clinton performed any favors for foundation donors.
But they do show pronounced worries among the Clintons’ closest advisers
about the millions of dollars coming into the foundation, and to Mr.
Clinton personally, and how they could inoculate Mrs. Clinton from
criticism over it.
“Do they plan to do big events next year?” her campaign manager, Robby
Mook, asked about the foundation last year, shortly after Mrs. Clinton
kicked off her presidential campaign. “Possible for those to be smaller
and lower key in 16?”
Founded in 1997, when Mr. Clinton was still president, the foundation
has raised roughly $2 billion to fund projects around the world, helping
African farmers improve their yields, Haitians recover from a
devastating 2010 earthquake and millions of people gain access to
cheaper H.I.V./AIDS medication, among other accomplishments.
Some of the former president’s staff members followed him from the White
House to the foundation, and the emails provide an extraordinary look at
the soap opera that unfolded years later as people close to the couple
felt their power threatened.
“This is the 3rd time this week where she has gone to daddy to change a
decision or interject herself,” Mr. Band, the longtime aide to Mr.
Clinton, wrote about Chelsea Clinton in 2011.
At the time, she was beginning to exert influence at the foundation,
expressing concerns that Mr. Band and others were trying to use the
charity to make money for themselves, and accusing another aide in her
father’s personal office of installing spyware.
Emails released on Tuesday contained a memo from Mr. Band essentially
defending his work for the foundation, and for Mr. Clinton personally,
even as Mr. Band was building up his corporate consulting firm, Teneo.
The memo noted that some foundation donors had indeed been clients of
Teneo, but also that Mr. Band and Teneo had helped raise tens of
millions of dollars for the foundation from individual, foreign and
corporate donors, without taking a commission.
Mr. Band also noted how some of those donors he had cultivated were
paying Mr. Clinton privately to make speeches or to do other work. One
such donor, Laureate International Universities, a for-profit education
company based in Baltimore, was paying Mr. Clinton $3.5 million annually
“to provide advice” and serve as its honorary chairman, Mr. Band wrote.
In another email, Mr. Band wrote that Mr. Clinton had even received
gifts from some donors.
The tensions came to a head when Chelsea Clinton helped enlist an
outside law firm to audit the Clinton Foundation’s practices. Some
interviewees told the audit team that the donors “may have an
expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gift.” The audit
suggested the foundation “ensure that all donors are properly vetted and
that no inappropriate quid pro quos are offered to donors in return for
The advice proved prescient as Mrs. Clinton faced intense scrutiny about
whether donors to the Clinton Foundation had received special access to
her State Department or other rewards. In August, the foundation said it
would no longer accept foreign donations should Mrs. Clinton win the
Mrs. Clinton has dismissed criticism of the charity as politically
motivated. A spokesman for the Clinton campaign, Glen Caplin, declined
to verify the authenticity of the emails, but said the hack was part of
the Russian government’s efforts to use cyberattacks to influence the
election in favor of the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Band’s firm released a statement saying: “Teneo worked to encourage
clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of
the good work that it does around the world. It also clearly shows that
Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from
Behind the scenes, Mrs. Clinton’s aides grappled with how to sever her
from the problematic optics of some of the philanthropy’s fund-raising
In an October 2014 email, Mr. Mook asked whether Mrs. Clinton’s name
would be used in connection with the foundation, which is formally known
as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. “It will invite
press scrutiny and she’ll be held accountable for what happens there,”
The next year, when Mrs. Clinton was on the verge of declaring her
candidacy, Cheryl D. Mills, a lawyer and top aide, said she discussed
with Mrs. Clinton various “steps” to take to adjust her relationship
with the foundation, including her resignation from the foundation’s board.
By fall 2015, Mrs. Clinton’s aides had fine-tuned her response to
questions about foreign donors. “As President, I won’t permit any
conflicts between my work for the American people and the Foundation’s
good work,” aides advised Mrs. Clinton to say in a coming debate.
The emails give insight into the periodic fires that Mrs. Clinton’s
advisers thought they had to put out. Mrs. Clinton ultimately did not
attend the foundation event in Morocco that Ms. Abedin had complained
about; her husband and daughter did go. It is unclear if the king had
given the $12 million he was said to have pledged; he is not listed
among the foundation’s donors.
In March 2015, Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate who had given
more than $10 million to the foundation, was “relentlessly” requesting a
meeting with Mr. Clinton, according to an aide, Amitabh Desai. If the
former president declined, the relationship would be damaged, Mr. Desai
wrote in an email.
“No is better. Is that viable?” wrote Mr. Podesta, who by then was the
chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. It is unclear if the meeting took
That same year, during a discussion over a potential meeting between Mr.
Clinton and the Saudi king, Mr. Podesta replied, using the former
president’s initials, “Not something that would be on our top 10 list of
Mr. Podesta took a leadership role at the charity when Bruce R. Lindsey,
a former White House counsel and longtime friend of Mr. Clinton who had
been chief executive of the foundation, had a stroke in 2011.
His role at the foundation, coupled with his later capacity as the
chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, put Mr. Podesta in the middle of
internal workings of both operations and, by default, the delicate
battles unfolding between Chelsea Clinton and her father’s top aides.
The day Mrs. Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, died in 2011, Chelsea
Clinton emailed Mr. Podesta. “Doug called and yelled and screamed at my
Dad about how could he do this,” she said, a reference to the internal
scrutiny going on at the foundation. “My mother is exhausted, we are all
heartbroken but we need a strategy and my father needs advice/counsel.”
Mr. Band has said the exchange described in the email never happened.
Mr. Band, who helped Mr. Clinton build the foundation, clearly felt
irritated by Chelsea Clinton’s stream of implications that he had padded
his own pockets from his work for her father.
When Chelsea Clinton, using a pseudonym “Diane Reynolds,” that she also
sometimes used to check into hotels, sent Mr. Band a complimentary email
in January 2012, he forwarded it to Mr. Podesta and Ms. Mills.
“As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far,” he wrote. “A kiss on the
cheek while she is sticking the knife in the back, and front.”
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