[Marxism] Donations to Foundation Vexed Hillary Clinton’s Aides, Emails Show

Louis Proyect 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 
progressive credentials.)

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 
contributions.”

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 
White House.

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 
doing so.”

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 
practices.

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,” 
he wrote.

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 
place.

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 
WJC requests.”

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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