Clinton State Dept. Approved Bill’s Overseas Speeches, Consulting in Egypt/Russia/UAE & More
The Washington Examiner reports that following the Clintons’ agreement in 2008 to have ethics advisers guard against conflicts of interest while Bill Clinton, a globetrotting fundraiser who makes millions off of paid speeches and consulting arrangements, and his wife served as America’s top diplomat, the State Department rarely objected to the Clintons’ near $50 million in reported income.
Approving dozens of overseas speeches in countries with interests in influencing U.S. foreign policy, a controversial consulting arrangement, the State Department, with Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff regularly copied, never took issue with millions made from foreign sources such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Cayman Islands and other countries.
In addition, Clinton’s arrangement with consulting firm Teneo was approved in just 7 days (if only FOIA requests were dealt with so speedily!). This quick verdict came despite the firms client roster, having represented top global corporations with substantial interest before the government including MF Global. Among those on its payroll were Hillary Clinton’s personal aide Huma Abedin – in a controversial arrangement where she also worked for the State Department.
A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch and released Wednesday in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act case, State Department officials charged with reviewing Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches did not object to a single one.
Some of the speeches were delivered in global hotspots and were paid for by entities with business or policy interests in the U.S.
The documents also show that in June 2011, the State Department approved a consulting agreement between Bill Clinton and a controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band.
The consultancy with Band’s Teneo Strategies ended eight months later following an uproar over Teneo’s ties to the failed investment firm MF Global.
State Department legal advisers, serving as “designated agency ethics officials,” approved Bill Clinton’s speeches in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, Turkey, Taiwan, India, the Cayman Islands and other countries.
The memos approving Mr. Clinton’s speeches were routinely copied to Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s senior counsel and chief of staff.
Mills is a longtime Clinton troubleshooter who defended the president during his impeachment. In the Benghazi affair, Mills reportedly berated a high-ranking official at the U.S. embassy in Libya for talking to a Republican congressman.
Under State Department protocols, a “designated agency ethics official” is assigned to advise the secretary of state about “potential or actual conflicts of interest.”
In a December 2008 memorandum of understanding, the protocols were expanded to Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and related initiatives — specifically, to reviewing Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches and consulting deals.
In an accompanying letter to the State Department legal adviser, Clinton lawyer David Kendall noted that Bill Clinton would disclose proposed consulting deals and, for speeches, provide “the identities of the host(s) (the entity that pay the speaker’s fee)” so that the State Department “in consultation with the White House as appropriate, may conduct a review for any real or apparent conflicts of interest with the duties of the Secretary of State.”
But an inspection by the Examiner and Judicial Watch of donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s personal financial disclosure forms, and the State Department conflict-of-interest reviews shows that at least $48 million flowed to the Clintons’ personal coffers and foundation from many entities that clearly had interests in influencing the Obama administration — and perhaps currying favor with a future president as well. …