Hillary Clinton

January 21, 2009 – February 1, 2013: 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary’s State Department

(Credit: Washington Examiner)

“The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking. At least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran the place, according to a Vox analysis of foundation records and federal lobbying disclosures.

The following chart shows entities that donated to the foundation and lobbied the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure. The totals include funding for the foundation from both corporate and charitable arms of listed companies that lobbied State, even though the charities themselves don’t necessarily lobby. One exception: The Gates Foundation, co-chaired by Microsoft co-founder and board member Bill Gates, is not Microsoft’s charitable arm (that’s another group) and does not register to lobby. The chart does not account for contributions made by executives, and it may omit some companies who made contributions or lobbied through subsidiaries.

(Chart can be seen at source link.)

* The Clinton Foundation reports contributions in ranges.

That’s not illegal, but it is scandalous.

There’s a household name at the nexus of the foundation and the State Department for every letter of the alphabet but “X” (often more than one): Anheuser-Busch, Boeing, Chevron, (John) Deere, Eli Lilly, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, HBO, Intel, JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, NBC Universal, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, Rotary International, Siemens, Target, Unilever, Verizon, Walmart, Yahoo, and Ze-gen.

The set includes oil, defense, drug, tech, and news companies, as well as labor unions and foreign interests. It includes organizations as innocuous as the Girl Scouts and those as in need of brand-burnishing as Nike, which was once forced to vow that it would end the use of child labor in foreign sweatshops. This list of donors to the Clinton foundation who lobbied State matters because it gives a sense of just how common it was for influence-seekers to give to the Clinton Foundation, and exactly which ones did.” (Read more: Vox, 4/28/2015)

Evidence suggests Clinton regularly keeps her BlackBerry stored inside a secure area against regulations, but she will later deny this.

While Clinton is secretary of state, she has an office on the seventh floor of State Department headquarters, in an area often referred to as “Mahogany Row.” Her office and the surrounding area is considered a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Mobile devices such as BlackBerrys are not allowed in SCIF rooms, because they can be taken over by hackers and used to record audio and video.

But according to a September 2016 FBI report, “Interviews of three former DS [Diplomatic Security] agents revealed Clinton stored her personal BlackBerry in a desk drawer in a [Diplomatic Security] post which was located within the SCIF on Mahogany Row. State personnel were not authorized to bring their mobile devices into [the post], as it was located within the SCIF.”

A view from the 8th floor balcony at the State Department. (Credit: Thomas V. Dembski)

A view from the 8th floor balcony at the State Department. (Credit: Thomas V. Dembski)

However, according to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, Clinton would leave the SCIF to use her BlackBerry, often visiting the eighth floor balcony to do so. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell will later tell the FBI that he never received any complaints about Clinton using her BlackBerry inside the SCIF.

In contrast to the above evidence, in her July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will claim that after her first month as secretary of state, she never brought her BlackBerry into the SCIF area at all, because she had been clearly told not to do that. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Most State Department officials claim they don’t know Clinton has a private email address or uses a private server.

A sample email of the "H" as it appears in an email sent by Clinton. (Credit: public domain)

A sample address with the “H” as it appears in an email sent by Clinton. (Credit: public domain)

A September 2016 FBI report will indicate that “some Clinton aides and senior-level State [Department] employees were aware Clinton used a personal email address for State business during her tenure [as secretary of state]. Clinton told the FBI it was common knowledge at State that she had a private email address because it was displayed to anyone with whom she exchanged emails. However, some State employees interviewed by the FBI explained that emails from Clinton only contained the letter ‘H’ in the sender field and did not display her email address.”

The report also notes, “The majority of the State employees interviewed by the FBI who were in email contact with Clinton indicated they had no knowledge of the private server in her Chappaqua residence.”

Even Clinton’s closest aides like her chief of staff Cheryl Mills and deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin will claim they didn’t know, though there is evidence that suggests otherwise (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Early 2009 – Hillary’s State Department OK’d Bill’s big-money speeches

Jim Thessin (Credit: public domain)

(…) “In hundreds of documents released to POLITICO under the Freedom of Information Act, not a single case appears where the State Department explicitly rejected a Bill Clinton speech. Instead, the records show State Department lawyers acted on sparse information about business proposals and speech requests and were under the gun to approve the proposals promptly. The ethics agreement did not require that Clinton provide the estimated income from his private arrangements, making it difficult for ethics officials to tell whether his services were properly valued.

The proposed China speech and one consulting deal with a major player in Middle East policy are the only examples in the released documents where serious concerns were registered. The records include requests to speak to investment groups, colleges and foreign entities.

The records also highlight a blind spot in the ethics deal the Clintons and the Obama transition team hammered out in 2008 with the involvement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: While the pact subjected Bill Clinton’s moneymaking activities to official review, it imposed no vetting on donations to the Clinton Foundation by individuals or private companies in the U.S. or abroad.

Concerns about individuals seeking influence by dropping money in both buckets arose soon after the first few Bill Clinton speech proposals landed at Foggy Bottom. In a 2009 memo greenlighting those talks, a State Department ethics official specifically asked about possible links between President Clinton’s speaking engagements and donations to the Clinton Foundation. However, the released documents show no evidence that the question was addressed.

“In future requests, I would suggest including a statement listing whether or not any of the proposed sponsors of a speaking event have made a donation to the Clinton Foundation and, if so, the amount and date,” wrote Jim Thessin, then the State Department’s top ethics approver and No. 2 lawyer.”

(Read more: Politico, 2/25/2015)

Early 2009 – Obama bans Sidney Blumenthal from working at State Department

November 2005 – Sidney Blumenthal (Credit: MSNBC)

The New York Times reports, “…the White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton’s effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant of both her and former President Bill Clinton, into the State Department.”  Read more: (New York Times, July 15, 2009)

Law professor Jonathan Turley reports, “The White House has reportedly blocked Hillary Clinton’s effort to bring controversial columnist Sidney Blumenthal into the State Department to advise her. Blumenthal has been long seen as a polarizing and, according to some, a vicious partisan — including allegations that he spread malicious rumors about Obama during the campaign.” (Read more: Jonathan Turley, July 17, 2009)

January 20, 2009 – February 1, 2013: Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Became Secretary of State

Bill and Hillary Clinton (Credit: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

“After his wife became Secretary of State, former President Bill Clinton began to collect speaking fees that often doubled or tripled what he had been charging earlier in his post White House years, bringing in millions of dollars from groups that included several with interests pending before the State Department, an ABC News review of financial disclosure records shows.

Where he once had drawn $150,000 for a typical address in the years following his presidency, Clinton saw a succession of staggering paydays for speeches in 2010 and 2011, including $500,000 paid by a Russian investment bank and $750,000 to address a telecom conference in China.

“It’s unusual to see a former president’s speaking fee go up over time,” said Richard Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office under President George W. Bush. “I must say I’m surprised that he raised his fees. There’s no prohibition on his raising it. But it does create some appearance problems if he raises his fee after she becomes Secretary of State.”

Public speaking became a natural and lucrative source of income for Clinton when he returned to private life in 2001. Records from disclosure forms filed by Hillary Clinton during her tenures in the U.S. Senate and then in the Obama Administration indicate he took in more than $105 million in speech fees during that 14 year period.” (Read more: ABC News, April 23, 2015)

January 13, 2009 – Clinton assures transparency during her Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State

US Secretary of State nominee and incumbent  Senator Hillary Clinton testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 13, 2009. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(…) “So the work of the foundation, the confidence that it has created with donors who know that it has an extremely low percentage that goes to any overhead, it has a very transparent way that it uses the money, were very persuasive to the transition team, that we had to work out something to keep the foundation in business while I did what I needed to do to be as transparent as possible.

So the kinds of concerns that were put forth were very carefully considered. And,  you know, I do believe that the agreement provides the kind of transparency — under the Memorandum of Understanding, foreign government pledges will be submitted to the State Department for review. I don’t know who will be giving money. That will not influence; it will not be in the atmosphere. When the disclosure occurs, obviously it will be after the fact, so it will be hard to make an argument that it influenced anybody because we didn’t know about it. So I think that in the way the president-elect’s transition team saw it, the agreement that has been worked out is actually in the best interests of avoiding the appearance of conflict.” (Video and Transcript: CSpan, 1/13/2009)

Huma Abedin allegedly wants Clinton’s email account on a private server and not on a server that is managed by someone else, so that is what is arranged.

In a September 2016 Congressional hearing, Justin Cooper will reveal some information about how Clinton’s use of a private email account on her private server begins. He will state: “Secretary Clinton was transitioning from her presidential campaign and Senate role and had been using primarily a BlackBerry for email correspondence. There were limitations to her ability to use that BlackBerry as well as desire to change her email address because a number of people have received her email address over the course of those activities. So we created with a discussion, I believe, with [Clinton aide] Huma Abedin at the time [about] what domains might be of interest. We obtained a domain and we added it to the original server used by President Clinton’s office for [Hillary Clinton] to use with her BlackBerry at the time…”

Note that Cooper registers three domain names on January 13, 2009, so this discussion must have occurred before then.

Representative Mark Meadows (Credit: public domain)

Representative Mark Meadows (Credit: public domain)

Representative Mark Meadows (R) will ask Cooper in the hearing: “So, your testimony here today is that Huma Abedin said that she would prefer to have Ms. Clinton’s email on a private server versus a server that was actually managed by someone else? That’s your testimony?”

Cooper will reply, “My testimony is that that was communicated to me.”

He will also clarify that when it came to talking to Abedin, “I don’t recall conversations with her about the setting up of the server.” But he also will say, “At some point I had a conversation with her about the setting up of an email account for Secretary Clinton on the server.” (US Congress, 9/13/2016)

However, in Abedin’s April 2016 FBI interview, she will say nothing like this. In fact, she will deny even knowing the server existed until it was mentioned in the media, despite her having an email account hosted on the server for the entire duration of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and at least three email exchanges that show her discussing the server during that time. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

The State Department rolls out an easy way to preserve emails for record keeping, but Clinton’s office elects not to use it and Clinton will later claim she never even heard of it.

Ernie Milner, division chief for SMART Testing and Implementation, and Kevin Gatlin, division chief for SMART Messaging, in the State Department SMART lab in Newington, VA. (Credit: American Diplomacy / University of North Carolina)

Ernie Milner, division chief for SMART Testing and Implementation, and Kevin Gatlin, division chief for SMART Messaging, in the State Department SMART lab in Newington, VA. (Credit: American Diplomacy / University of North Carolina)

In 2009, the first year Clinton is secretary of state, the State Department begins using the State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART), which allows employees to electronically tag emails to preserve a copy for posterity. This allows employees to easily comply with record keeping regulations, instead of having to print out copies of each email.

Although most of the State Department starts using SMART in 2009; the Office of the Secretary elects not to use the SMART system to preserve emails, partly due to concerns that the system would “allow overly broad access to sensitive materials.” (This quote is from an FBI report, but the name of the official who said it is redacted.)

Representatives from the Executive Secretariat (which includes Clinton’s office) ask to be the last to receive the SMART rollout. Ultimately SMART is never used by the Executive Secretariat Office or Clinton for the rest of Clinton’s four-year tenure.

This leaves printing out each email as the only approved method by which the Clinton or her staff in the Office of the Secretary could preserve emails for record keeping. But when Clinton leaves office in February 2013, she won’t even do that.

Remarkably, when Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI in July 2016, the FBI summary will indicate: “Clinton was not aware how other State [Department] staff maintained their records and was unaware of State’s State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART).” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

SMART will have security and cost overrun problems for the rest of Clinton’s tenure, and beyond.

December 17, 2008 – The Clinton Foundation reveals its donor list

Bill Clinton  (Credit: Bloomberg News)

“Former President Bill Clinton has collected tens of millions of dollars for his foundation over the last 10 years from governments in the Middle East, tycoons from Canada, India, Nigeria and Ukraine, and other international figures with interests in American foreign policy.

Lifting a longstanding cloak of secrecy, Mr. Clinton on Thursday released a complete list of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation as part of an agreement to douse concerns about potential conflicts if Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state in the Obama administration.

[…]”Saudi Arabia alone gave to the foundation $10 million to $25 million, as did government aid agencies in Australia and the Dominican Republic. Brunei, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan each gave more than $1 million. So did the ruling family of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation, both based in the United Arab Emirates, and the Friends of Saudi Arabia, founded by a Saudi prince.

Also among the largest donors were a businessman who was close to the onetime military ruler of Nigeria, a Ukrainian tycoon who was son-in-law of that former Soviet republic’s authoritarian president and a Canadian mining executive who took Mr. Clinton to Kazakhstan while trying to win lucrative uranium contracts.

In addition, the foundation accepted sizable contributions from several prominent figures from India, like a billionaire steel magnate and a politician who lobbied Mrs. Clinton this year on behalf of a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the United States, a deal that has rankled Pakistan, a key foreign policy focus of the incoming administration.” (Read more: New York Times, 12/18/2008)