WikiLeaks: Fuzzy Lines Between Clinton Foundation and Personal Interests

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Clinton Foundation
Rio de Janeiro - Dilma participa de um encontro da Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), no Copacabana Palace Hotel.

2011 memo WkiLeaks released Wednesday shows the lines between Clinton Foundation’s self-professed goal and the Clintons’ own personal interests are rather fuzzy.

Doug Band, a Bill Clinton consultant, wrote the memo in the wake of an internal audit at the charity. In the memo, Band mentions several instances in which his consulting firm, Teneo Holdings, brought Mr. Clinton for-profit contracts.

The memo surfaced from a fresh dump of leaked e-mails that hackers had stolen from Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide John Podesta. However, the memo was supposed to circulate only among Clinton’s closest friends including Podesta.

The latest document confirms Republicans’ suspicion that the Clintons may use the foundation for their and their business partners’ personal interests. In the memo, Band acknowledges he helped then-president Bill Clinton “engage in for-profit” activities such as books, paid speeches and advisory services.

Band wrote his firm served as an agent, manager, lawyer, and implementer for these for-profit activities. He also mentions the so-called “in-kind services” in support of these activities: personal travel, vacation, and accommodation.

Foundation Brought Clinton $50 Million by 2011

Band even calls one of Mr. Clinton’s money-making ventures “Bill Clinton Inc.” Band was upset Clinton did not compensate him for his services which brought Clinton “more than $50 million in for-profit activity” or could have brought an extra $66 million worth of for-profit future engagements.

The memo also mentions the foundation’s donors who worked with Mr. Clinton on these money-making activities. For instance, Laureate International Universities donated $1.4 million to the organization and paid Mr. Clinton millions more over the years for his advisory services.

Band underscored in the memo that the for-profit chain of colleges was a Foundation relationship which became a profitable business for Clinton. Band described the management of the relationship through his firm as “very time-consuming.” He noted Laureate paid the former U.S. president $3.5 million annually for his services. Clinton also agreed to be the college network’s Honorary Chairman at the time.

Another Foundation donor, GEMS education, gave the charity about $780,000 between 2009 and 2011. GEMS asked Mr. Clinton to be their adviser in 2009. Back then, Band “convinced” the company to better start a relationship to the charity first.

Business Relationships with Sponsors

The said relationship gradually morphed into a business relationship with the Clintons, the memo reads. In a separate e-mail, Band told Podesta that he landed in a conflict of interests because Teneo provided services to the foundation’s donors while his wife designed bags for the nonprofit. So, he had to sign a conflict of interest policy.

Band noted Mr. Clinton never had to sign the document despite receiving money and “expensive gifts” from three of the foundation’s donors

“I could add 500 different examples of things like this.”

Band told Podesta in the e-mail.

Teneo commented on the revelations. A spokesperson said the consulting firm “encouraged” its clients to make donations to Clinton Foundation for its charitable work worldwide. The company also said that it had no financial benefits from doing so.

Clinton camp hasn’t challenged the authenticity of the WikiLeaks dump. They only blamed Russia for sponsoring the hackers who broke into Podesta’s e-mail account.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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