The PJ Tatler

Hillary Clinton's Staff: Moonlighting Becomes Them

As the Hillary! Klinton’s Kampaign nears its inevitable tragi-comic ending, the two most important newspapers in the country, the New York Times and the Washington Post, have decided it’s open season on the whole rotten crew.

The Times broke the private e-mail server story, and now the Post chimes in with this:

For the four years that Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state, her longtime friend and adviser Cheryl D. Mills served next to her as chief of staff. Clinton has said Mills helped her run the State Department’s sprawling bureaucracy; oversaw key priorities such as food safety, global health policy and LGBT rights; and acted as “my principal liaison to the White House on sensitive matters.”

During her first four months at the State Department, Mills also held another high-profile job: She worked part time at New York University, negotiating with officials in Abu Dhabi to build a campus in that Persian Gulf city.

At the State Department, she was unpaid in those first months, officially designated as a temporary expert-consultant — a status that allowed her to continue to collect outside income while serving as chief of staff. She reported that NYU paid her $198,000 in 2009, when her university work overlapped with her time at the State Department, and that she collected an additional $330,000 in vacation and severance payments when she left the school’s payroll in May 2009.

The arrangement, which Mills discussed publicly for the first time in an interview with the Washington Post, is another example of how Clinton as secretary allowed close aides to conduct their public work even as they performed jobs benefiting private interests. Another key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, spent her last six months as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff in 2012 simultaneously employed by the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global charity, and a consulting company with close Clinton connections. Similarly, Mills remained on the Clinton Foundation’s unpaid board for a short time after joining the State Department.

This being Klinton World, there was of course nothing at all illegal about this, and even if there were, you can’t prove it:

Mills’s situation raises questions about how one of the State Department’s top employees set boundaries between her public role and a private job that involved work on a project funded by a foreign government. The arrangement appears to fall within federal ethics rules, but Republican lawmakers have accused Clinton of allowing potential conflicts of interest at the State Department.

In the interview, Mills rejected the suggestion of a conflict. She said her employment status was approved by career professionals at the State Department and was arranged because she initially intended to serve as Clinton’s chief of staff only briefly before returning full time to her job as general counsel at NYU, where she had worked since 2002. Her goal, she said, was to help Clinton transition to her new role and then hire her own replacement.

“Here’s what I do: I try to understand the rules and follow them,” she said. “And I try to make sure that I’m disclosing my obligations. … Our government anticipates that there will be occasions where people are working outside, so they are earning outside income and doing other things. What they do is have a framework for how you actually need to follow those rules. That’s certainly something I try to do.”

Remember, the problem isn’t what’s illegal — it’s what’s legal. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a racket.