Blatant Cronyism in Newly Released Clinton Emails
On Tuesday, Judicial Watch released 296 pages of Hillary Clinton's email records as part of its lawsuit against the State Department. Within the release are 44 government email exchanges that had not previously been turned over to the State Department, falsifying Clinton's oft-repeated claim that she had turned over all of her government emails.
The messages were found during a search of agency computer files of long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin. They reveal that while in office -- and in violation of ethics agreements she agreed to when she was appointed secretary of State -- Hillary Clinton interacted with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors, and business interests:
The new documents reveal that in April 2009 controversial Clinton Foundation official Doug Band pushed for a job for an associate. In the email Band tells Hillary Clinton’s former aides at the State Department Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin that it is “important to take care of [Redacted]. Band is reassured by Abedin that “Personnel has been sending him options.” Band was co-founder of Teneo Strategy with Bill Clinton and a top official of the Clinton Foundation, including its Clinton Global Initiative.
Included in the new document production is a 2009 email in which Band directs Abedin and Mills to put Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon. Band notes that Chagoury is “key guy there [Lebanon] and to us,” and insists that Abedin call Amb. Jeffrey Feltman to connect him to Chagoury.
As a close friend of Bill's and a top donor to the Clinton foundation, Chagoury was indeed a "key guy" to the Clintons:
He has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor, according to foundation documents. He also pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. According to a 2010 investigation by PBS Frontline, Chagoury was convicted in 2000 in Switzerland for laundering money from Nigeria, but agreed to a plea deal and repaid $66 million to the Nigerian government.
These types of interactions with the Clinton Foundation appear to be in violation of the ethics agreements Hillary Clinton agreed to prior to being appointed and confirmed as secretary of State. On January 5, 2009, for example, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton wrote in a letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James H. Thessin:
“For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party ... ”
According to the Capital Research Center, while Clinton served as secretary of State, foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation made up one-third of all donors giving more than $1 million, and made up more than half of donors who gave $5 million or more:
Before Obama even took office, the Clinton Foundation’s chairman of the board, Bruce Lindsey, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Dec. 12, 2008 with Valerie Jarrett, then co-chair of President-elect Obama’s transition team. The document provided that “During any service by Senator Clinton as Secretary of State, the Foundation will publish annually the names of all new contributors.” We now know that the foundation cast aside its promise to make timely disclosure of donations it took in from foreign sources.
And in recent days Reuters discovered that the Clinton Foundation filed incorrect Form 990 disclosures with the IRS. All nonprofits have to file the document once a year, after which it becomes publicly available. As a result of Reuters reporting, the Clinton Foundation admitted that its IRS filings from 2010 through 2012 and those of its Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) from 2012 and 2013 are not accurate. The foundation does not rule out the possibility of revisiting its IRS filings going back 15 years.
According to Reuters, “[f]or three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.”
Rather than condemn Clinton’s egregious violation of her agreement with the Obama administration, President Obama has fulsomely endorsed her and campaigned on her behalf.
The blatant cronyism on display in the newly released emails helps explain why Clinton might want to keep them under wraps, as revealed in another email exchange.
In another email chain, then Sec. of State Clinton received advice from another large Clinton donor:
As preparation for Hillary’s upcoming visit to Asia, Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, on Feb. 11, 2009, sends Hillary a copy of his upcoming testimony before Congress in which he would condemn any U.S. efforts to criticize Chinese monetary policy or enact trade barriers. Several days later, Hillary asked Abedin about Roach possibly “connecting” with her while she was in Beijing: “I forwarded you my email to him about connecting in Beijing. Can he come to the embassy or other event?” Morgan Stanley is a long-time financial supporter of the Clintons.
The emails reveal that Clinton campaign adviser and pollster Mark Penn advised Clinton on NATO and piracy. Another major Clinton fundraiser, Lana Moresky, also pushed Clinton to hire someone for a position at State. Clinton directed Abedin to follow up and “help” the applicant and told Abedin to “let me know” about the job issue.
The emails show that Hillary Clinton relied on someone named “Justin” (presumably Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton and Clinton Foundation employee), to set up her cell phone voicemail, rather than having State Department personnel handle it. This was in a February 11, 2009, email from Clinton aide Lauren Jiloty to Clinton, using Clinton’s [email protected] address.
This is the ninth set of records produced for Judicial Watch by the State Department from the non-state.gov email accounts of Huma Abedin.
“No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”
Fitton appeared on Fox and Friends this morning to talk about the newly disclosed messages.
"The State Department got these emails last year, and they've shown repeatedly that we're getting these batches of emails that include emails Mrs. Clinton never turned over to the State Department, despite her promises to Congress and despite telling a court under oath under penalty of perjury that as far as she knew, everything was turned over," Fitton said. "Obviously that's not the case."
The film Clinton Cash, based on author Peter Schweizer's book of the same name, exposes the suspicious patterns behind Bill Clinton's astronomically high speaking fees and donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign contributors while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State. The entire movie can be watched here.