The Clinton circle's business dealings while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state were even more incestuous and fraught with potential conflicts of interest than previously known, emails newly released by Wikileaks show. The web of moneymaking and political influence was so tangled that at one point Chelsea Clinton stepped in and accused Clinton aides turned global consultants of "hustling" outside business through the Clinton Foundation, prompting an audit and the admission by one of the aides that he had established a massive moneymaking enterprise for Bill Clinton post-presidency, which he dubbed "Bill Clinton Inc."
Doug Band, the longtime aide to the former president, defended and detailed his work in a 2011 memo in response to the audit, saying that he had raised $46 million for the foundation through the Clinton Global Initiative, the annual gathering for corporate and governmental bigwigs, while also landing lucrative gigs for Clinton personally, and setting up the consulting firm Teneo. The consulting company work included cultivating some clients involved with the former first family's foundation, and some with interests affected by the State Department, where another Clinton ally and Teneo partner had an unpaid job during this period.
In the memo, Band writes that he raised $50 million for Clinton himself through speaking engagements, books, and honorary positions, while also consulting for the Clintons through Teneo, and building the firm's client base. By Band's accounting, Bill Clinton had $66 million in future income coming based on contracts in place in 2011.
The gigs included speeches for companies such as UBS and Barclays, a meeting with the CEO of Coca-Cola at the Clintons' Washington home, and $18 million to serve as “honorary chancellor” for the for-profit college Laureate International Universities (Hillary Clinton has called for a crackdown on such schools). UBS paid Bill Clinton $2 million for speeches from 2011 to 2015, and paid Hillary $225,000 for a 2013 speech. Coke contributed $4.3 million to the foundation from 2004 to 2010. Coke hired Teneo around the time of the meeting with the Clintons, paying for "business and communications consulting," a Coke spokesman told the Washington Post.
"The ability to bring business and political leaders together to meet the CEOs was all part of the selling point," Republican and former Teneo consultant Ed Rollins told the Times about the firm last week.
Former Teneo employees told the paper the firm set up "salons" for executives and politicians at the home of Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson without disclosing to attendees that the company was behind the events.
Chelsea Clinton complained by email to longtime Clinton aide John Podesta, whose email account was hacked by an unknown source—federal officials have said they believe the Russian government was involved—that she was afraid Teneo was "hustling business" at the Clinton Global Initiative, and indeed, as Band outlined in his memo, the company had a hotel room upstairs where the event was being held. She also told Podesta that Bill Clinton's staffers were making calls on the former president's behalf to Teneo clients, without his knowledge.
One of those clients was Dow Chemical, the CEO of which was introduced to Bill Clinton by Clinton insider and Teneo cofounder Declan Kelly while Kelly was simultaneously serving as U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland for Hillary Clinton and head of the then-new consulting firm. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton lauded Dow in 2010 for creating jobs in Northern Ireland. The company donated $705,000 to the Clinton Foundation over the next two years.
Chelsea Clinton's complaints and audit helped push the foundation to create new policies regarding outside consulting work and compartmentalizing Bill Clinton's charity and moneymaking work, according to the Washington Post. Bill Clinton also returned all but $100,000 of a promised $2 million for his role as Teneo's "honorary chairman."
In the thick of the internal controversy, Band complained to Podesta that he was being subjected to an unfair standard given that he had to sign a conflict of interest document to be on the board of the Global Initiative and Bill Clinton did not. "Oddly, wjc does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc," Band wrote. "I could add 500 different examples of things like this."
In a statement to the Post, Band said that the hacked emails actually show the synergy of Teneo and the Clinton Foundation in helping the world, writing that, "as the memo demonstrates, 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."
A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas. People are not happy. BIG lines. What is going on?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2016
Donald Trump, meanwhile, is priming his supporters to distrust any version of the election's outcome that does not send him to the Oval Office, and to watch Trump TV. Assuming Hillary Clinton wins and there isn't widespread armed revolt, the next few years are likely to be chockablock with congressional inquiries into the Clintons' dealings led by Republicans...Woo.