Memo reveals interplay between Clinton Foundation, personal business

An internal memo released Wednesday by WikiLeaks reveals new details about the interplay between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton family’s personal business interests.

The 12-page document is penned by Doug Band, a longtime Clinton confidant who had been the Clinton Foundation’s primary fundraiser for a decade.

{mosads}Band wrote the memo as a principal for Teneo, a private consulting firm that raised tens of millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation while also acting as a personal in-house agency for Bill Clinton. 

In the memo, Band describes his “unorthodox” role in raising money for the nonprofit foundation while simultaneously securing for-profit opportunities for the former president.

The document argues that Band’s dual lines of work were “independent” of one another. The memo came after criticism from Chelsea Clinton — revealed in a separate email published by WikiLeaks — over Band’s role within the family’s network of interests. 

The memo states that as of November 2011, Teneo had raised tens of millions for the foundation and produced between $30 million and $66 million in revenue for Bill Clinton through various “business arrangements,” including paid speeches.

“In the unique roles in which we have had the opportunity to serve, we have been able to help balance the multiplicity of activities that demand [Bill Clinton’s] time and engagement to best fulfill his personal, political, business, official former President, and Foundation/non-profit goals,” Band writes.

Questions about the overlapping interests between the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons’ personal business interests have dogged Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, in her run for the White House.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has hammered her over allegations of “pay-for-play,” accusing the former secretary of State of selling access to corporations and foreign governments that make donations to the Clinton Foundation or have paid her and Bill Clinton for private speeches.

The Clinton camp has denied that Clinton Foundation donors were given special access or that the charitable organization was used to enrich its founding family.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment specifically on the memo. The campaign has refused to confirm the authenticity of any of campaign chairman John Podesta’s stolen emails and has sought to cast doubt on their authenticity. 

A spokesperson for Teneo said there was nothing untoward revealed in the memo.

“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,” the spokesperson said. “It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”

Band co-founded Teneo with former State Department employee Declan Kelly while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

The firm paid Bill Clinton as an adviser through 2012, and it has raised millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation through Band’s connections to executives at large corporations like Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and Allstate.

Band also acted as personal agent for Clinton, setting him up with the lucrative speaking engagements that have driven the Clintons’ net worth into the stratosphere.

In one instance, Band secured a $540,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation from banking giant UBS. He later arranged for Clinton to give three paid speeches to the firm for a total of $900,000. 

Band noted that his firm served as the “primary contact and point of management” for Clinton’s political activity, business activity, foundation activity, paid speeches, and family and personal needs, including “in-kind private airplane travel” and “in-kind vacation stays.”

Teneo’s overlapping responsibilities gave heartburn to some in the Clintons’ inner circle, including Chelsea Clinton, who in another email published by WikiLeaks raised “serious concerns” with Teneo’s liberal use of the Clinton name to court clients.

Band lashed out at Clinton as a meddlesome “spoiled brat” in an email to Podesta, while acknowledging the unique nature of his position. 

“We appreciate the unorthodox nature of our roles, and the goal of seeking ways to ensure we are implementing best practices to protect the [tax exempt] status of the Foundation,” he says.

The document lists several Teneo clients that Band and Kelly “leveraged” into major donors for the Foundation and details the personal introductions the two principals made between the Clintons and the prospective donors. 

In one example, Kelly “cultivated” Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent’s interest in the foundation, ensuring several seven-figure donations beginning in 2009.

According to the document, Kelly introduced Kent to Bill Clinton in January 2009 at a meeting he arranged at the couple’s D.C. home.

Kent was among several private-sector figures that the Clinton campaign considered naming as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, according to a separate email also released by WikiLeaks.

In a previous email to Podesta, who was then acting as the temporary CEO of the foundation, Band worried that the press might catch wind of his role in Clinton World and misconstrue it.

“I’m starting to worry that if this story gets out, we are screwed,” Band wrote. “[Kelly] and I built a business. Our business has almost nothing to do with the clintons, the foundation or [the Clinton Global Initiative] in any way. The chairman of ubs could care a less (sic) about cgi.” 

A week after Band sent his memo, longtime Clinton lawyer Cheryl Mills sent a document to Podesta and Band laying out several options for unwinding the former president’s charitable and business interests — all of which distanced Band from the foundation. 

In December of that year, according to the emails, the former president resigned from his position on Teneo’s advisory board. 

The memo — sent to Clinton Foundation board members and lawyers — will also likely cast more scrutiny on Kelly, whose overlapping roles at the State Department and his private firm DK Consulting raised questions about conflict of interest.

According to the memo, DK Consulting was subsumed by Teneo in June of 2011 — a month before his resignation as economic envoy to Northern Ireland, a post to which he was appointed by Hillary Clinton.

Amidst warnings from government watchdog groups that the organization could represent “very serious” conflicts of interest for a Clinton White House, Bill Clinton recently announced a systemic overhaul of the organization should his wife become president.

Amongst other changes, Clinton announced that he would step down from the foundation’s board and stop fundraising for the organization.

Hillary Clinton stepped down from the foundation board when she announced her presidential campaign in 2015.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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