Clinton aide joked about donor’s appointment to intelligence board

A senior aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to mock the appointment of a major Democratic donor to an intelligence advisory board when the selection came under scrutiny.

In 2011, Clinton’s office appeared to have pushed for Rajiv Fernando, a financial trader, to be placed on the International Security Advisory Board, despite his lack of national security experience.  

{mosads}“Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the President’s Physical Fitness Council?” senior aide Philippe Reines wrote in an email to two other aides of Clinton, according to emails released to McClatchy by the conservative organization Citizens United. Citizens United obtained the emails as result of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

The apparent joke is likely to further inflame critics of the move to elevate Fernando, which critics say is evidence of Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street donors.

On Wednesday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump mentioned Fernando’s appointment as one reason why “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”

Fernando, who bundled more than $100,000 for Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, was appointed to the advisory board in 2011 despite apparent lack of support from lower level figures. He stepped down in 2012, following an inquiry from ABC News.

Reines’s email questioning the selection came as part of a chain discussing the State Department’s to the ABC inquiry.

“Not the most compelling response I’ve ever seen since it’s such a dense topic the board resolves around,” he told advisers Heather Samuelson and Cheryl Mills.

The State Department has continued to defend Fernando’s selection, saying that the board consists of a diverse range of experts.

“The board should reflect, according to its charter, a balance of background, points of view, so he was chosen as part of that process of trying to choose members that represent a broad range of views, I assume,” spokesman Mark Toner said earlier this month.


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