Friday, 14 October 2016

Leaked E-mails: Collusion Between State Department and Clinton Foundation

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Recently leaked e-mails published by WikiLeaks show that Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, was also — at the same time — an advisor to the Clinton Foundation. The e-mails show that — while working her “day job” at the State Department (with Hillary as her boss) — Mills was working as an advisor to help restructure the Clinton Foundation (with Hillary as her boss). The lines between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation were so blurred, it would be hard to say where one ended and the other began.

The conflicts of interest involved with Mills’ employment irregularities were not an anomaly, either. Last year, The New American reported on a similar situation with Huma Abedin, Hillary’s deputy chief of staff. We reported that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had demanded answers about the "special government employee" arrangement enjoyed by Abedin. We said:

The e-mails that are beginning to trickle down the pipeline are shedding much-needed light on the extent to which Abedin's loyalities may have been divided. In late 2012, while still employed as an aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Abedin was helping future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton transition out of her job at State and into the political ring. If that's confusing, it's because it's supposed to be. Such ambiguity led Grassley to write to Abedin and the current secretary of state, John Kerry, to ask, "How can the taxpayer know who exactly SGEs [Special Government Employees] are working for at any given moment? How can the ethics officer at the State Department know?"

During that time of ambiguous multi-employment, she helped plan and execute a trip to Northern Ireland for then-Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who was going there on official state business. In one e-mail, dated November 30, 2012 she helped pull together a meeting at a private club in Dublin that was attended by donors for both the Clinton campaign and the Clinton Foundation, as well as her other boss Declan Kelly, CEO of Teneo Holdings. But Kelly was also the U.S. economic envoy to Northern Ireland appointed by none other Hillary Clinton. In that e-mail, Abedin wrote, "Maybe we can all gather for drinks/dinner and HRC [Hillary Rodman Clinton] can come join for as long as she can?" So, Abedin planned to have Hillary there and she was there. But it's hard to say which hat(s) she wore on that occasion — secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and/or a future presidential candidate. But regardless of whatever hat(s) she wore, she was Abedin's boss — or at least one of Abedin's bosses.

It's easy to see why Grassley thinks there may be a conflict of interest going on here.

Now, more than a year later, leaked e-mails show that the blurry lines extended further than was previously known. Not that this new information should shock anyone familiar with the type of ethics that seem to mark nearly everything the Clintons are involved in. A common element in those blurry lines is Teneo Holdings, a consulting company founded by longtime Clinton associate Doug Band. Bill Clinton served as an advisor to Teneo. Huma Abedin — as mentioned above — worked for Teneo. And Cheryl Mills was there all along, helping to set up the smoke and mirrors to keep it all behind the scenes and out of the sight of the public.

For instance, as the Daily Mail reports:

Mills worked closely with the foundation and Bill Clinton — even as she was tasked at the State Department with helping to vet the former president's paid speaking engagements and non-profit work for potential conflicts of interest.

In one e-mail, dated January 13, 2013, Mills sent a message via Bill Clinton's assistant to Bill (who, despite Hillary’s claims to the contrary, famously said he has used e-mail only twice). The message was titled “WJC Infrastructure Paradigm” and pertained to ways Mr. Clinton could restructure his business interests to avoid the appearance (if not the reality) of corruption. Mills wrote:

For WJC

Mr. President

Attached is the vetter paradigm for the separation of personal and other activities (Foundation, business, non-profit, political, official) to provide support for you in the range of activities in which you engage.

I am circulating it to the Board (Bruce, Terry, CVCM) as well as copying John, Justin and Doug — all of whom have embraced the principles set forth in the document.

I also will be sharing this document with Victoria and Jennifer for their FYI.

I believe it would be beneficial to have a common conversation that includes everyone regarding the implementation of this in the next week. I am copying John who as you know is handling the implications for this new model for the Foundation.

I look forward to talking when convenient.

cdm

It seems never to have occurred to anyone that having Mills (who worked for Hillary at the foundation) vetting Hillary’s husband’s speaking engagements for conflicts of interest as part of her job at the State Department (where Hillary was her boss) was itself a conflict of interest. Just to top it off, it likely amounts to Mills being paid twice for the same work. And there is little doubt where her loyalties were as she worked for both (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton and (Clinton Foundation board member) Hillary Clinton. The lines and the ethics were all so fuzzy, no one could separate them.

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, has noticed those fuzzy lines, as well, saying, “The new revelations in the latest Wikileaks email disclosure prove Cheryl Mills worked extensively with the Clinton Foundation, their Board, President Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton while at the same time working in a role at the State Department that appears to have created a serious conflict of interest.” Boehm also points out that the recently leaked e-mails “show Ms. Mills did not fully reveal her role with the Clinton Foundation when interviewed by the Congressional Select Committee on Benghazi.”

The e-mail above from Mills was part of a larger plan to sort-of (but not really) separate the Clinton Foundation and Teneo. Mills drafted a memo which said, “Commencing January 1, 2012, the President instead will become a client of Teneo; Teneo principals will provide consulting services to the President in his personal capacity.” So Bill Clinton goes from advising Teneo to having Teneo advise him. No, that’s not suspicious at all.

But in the world of the Clintons and their associates, it appears that the only rule is that it’s OK to do whatever you can get away with. With ethics like that, it is a foregone conclusion that a Clinton 2.0 presidency will be marked by corruption, ethics violations, and conflicts of interest. And it is likely that Mills, Abedin, and Teneo Holdings will be right there in the mix.

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