OCTOBER 28, 2016
Clinton State Department IT Official John Bentel Takes the Fifth
U.S. Spends Millions on “Green Bus Corridor” in Mexico, “Bicycle Highway” in Colombia
Judicial Watch Will Monitor Virginia Polls on Election Day
Special Report: Clinton’s Pay to Play Scheme
The bureaucrats Hillary Clinton worked with at State still are withholding what they know about her illicit email practices.
You can see that in the deposition transcript of John Bentel, the State Department’s former Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat, who was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to respond to our questions. We released the transcript this week.
Mr. Bentel, whose office handles information technology for the Office of the Secretary, answered 87 questions with: “On advice from my legal counsel, I decline to answer the question and I invoke my Fifth Amendment rights.”
We had the same experience with IT political appointee Bryan Pagliano, the Clinton State Department IT official who reportedly provided support for the Clinton email system.
Bentel asserted his Fifth Amendment right in answer to many key questions about issues raised directly by Judge Sullivan. On August 19, 2016, Judge Sullivan granted Judicial Watch’s request to depose Bentel, citing significant discrepancies in Bentel’s previous statements on the Clinton non-state.gov email system:
The Court is persuaded that Mr. Bentel should be deposed because the record in this case appears to contradict his sworn testimony before the [House Select] Benghazi Committee . . .. Specifically, Mr. Bentel testified that he was not aware that Secretary Clinton’s email account was housed on a private server until media reports in 2015 . . .. However, several emails indicate Mr. Bentel knew about the private server as early as 2009.
Bentel asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in response to all questions about what he knew about Hillary Clinton’s email system and its impact on the Freedom of Information Act.
In ordering Bentel’s deposition, Judge Sullivan also cited a May 2016 Inspector General’s report that found that Mr. Bentel told employees in his office that Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement had been approved by the State Department’s legal staff and also instructed his subordinates not to discuss the Secretary’s email again:
In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements. According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further . . . . According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.
Bentel asserted his Fifth Amendment right when asked about this reference to the State Department Inspector General’s report and about his FBI interview.
Mr. Bentel, on advice of the Obama Justice Department and personal counsel, refused to answer any questions about whether Hillary Clinton was paying his legal fees or offered him employment or other financial incentives. Pagliano also declined to say who was paying for his legal representation.
We previously deposed seven former Clinton top aides and current State Department officials, including top Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. We also deposed IT official Bryan Pagliano, who asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to testify during the Judicial Watch deposition. And Clinton last week answered our questions under oath regarding her non-government email system.
The depositions come in connection with a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the corrupt patronage job given to Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, who served as deputy chief of staff to former Secretary Clinton (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
The fact that yet another State Department official took the Fifth highlights the disturbing implication that criminal acts took place related to the Clinton email system and our FOIA requests.
A recent survey revealed that Americans most fear government corruption and that the climate doesn’t even make the Top Ten list of worries.
Our Corruption Chronicles blog illustrates why Americans should worry about climate change – because of the government corruption involved in supposedly combatting it:
Surprise, surprise: The U.S. is the first to donate millions of dollars to yet another global warming experiment—run by the famously corrupt United Nations—that aims to forge “climate resilient infrastructure” in third-world countries.
The money will help build a bicycle highway in Colombia and bring electric buses and a “green bus corridor” to Mexico, issues that are unlikely to keep most American taxpayers up at night.
It’s part of an initiative called C40 Cities Finance Facility, launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last year. The global warming powwow in France has already cost American taxpayers a chunk of change, and Judicial Watch made the numbers public over the summer after obtaining records from the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of the Air Force.
The documents offer a detailed breakdown of the cost, but the total expenditure to have President Obama attend the ludicrous Paris shindig was an eye-popping $4,165,068. Judicial Watch had to file a lawsuit to get the information because the administration refused to provide it under the federal public-records law that was enacted to keep government in check.
During the Paris conference, the C40 Cities Finance Facility was launched to provide much-needed cash for a 10-year-old program called C40 that claims to be a “network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change.” The conglomerate specializes in tackling climate change in developing countries by driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.
Evidently, it’s come up with some brilliant ideas in the last decade to accomplish its mission but not enough money to implement them. As is the case in many of these global, feel-good initiatives, Uncle Sam has generously opened his checkbook for this important cause. Germany is the other “funding partner” listed along with the U.S.
The first $2 million, doled out this month by the U.S., will fund two urban pilot projects in Latin America that are expected to bring “climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits.” The first project is a 25-kilometer bicycle highway in Bogota, Colombia, that will connect citizens from low, middle and high-income neighborhoods to work, education, and recreation opportunities.
An announcement published by the U.S. government calls the project a “first-of-its-kind” traversing the Colombian city from south to north. The rest of the money will buy a fleet of at least 100 electric buses for Mexico City and install a “green bus corridor” in one of its major thoroughfares. It’s expected to serve an estimated 133,400 Mexicans daily, providing connections to metro lines. This is an important investment for the U.S., a government official says in the announcement, because the impacts of climate change are impeding cities from delivering reliable services, “especially to the poorest.”
Years ago, the Obama administration determined that the poor will feel the brunt of climate change and it has cost American taxpayers monstrous sums. In the last few years the U.S. government has funded a number of programs, both domestic and international, to prepare those communities for the impact.
Back in 2012 the administration asked Congress for a whopping $770 million to help developing countries with climate change initiatives after it had already spent $323 million on a project called Global Climate Change Initiative that helps “meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries, including deploying clean energy technologies.”
Earlier this year, a federal audit revealed that a $25 million project to help Guatemala combat the ills of climate change is rife with problems that include data errors and discrepancies. The program is officially known as Climate Nature and Communities in Guatemala (CNCG).
Ideology wrapped in dubious science = taxpayer boondoggle. Is it any wonder that people are tired of corrupt politicians?
As part of our ongoing Election Integrity Project, we plan to have Judicial Watch volunteer poll observers will monitor polling sites in Virginia on Election Day. We have significant concerns about the integrity of the election process there:
- 1,046 aliens, or residents who are not U.S. citizens, were on the voter rolls in 8 Virginia counties. If that rate of non-citizen registration held in the rest of Virginia’s counties, that would mean that about 6,500 non-citizens are registered to vote in Virginia.
- A September 2016report by the Public Interest Legal Foundation and the Virginia Voter’s Alliance shows: “In the 8 jurisdictions that provided us with lists of aliens recently removed from their voter rolls, we discovered that 31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015. The most alien votes were cast in 2012 followed by 2008, the year President Obama was elected to his first term.” There are 133 total Virginia voting jurisdictions, so the number in this report represents a mere fraction of the true total of illegal votes.
- 19 deceasedindividuals recently re-registered to vote in Virginia.
- In 2013, the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck), which provides a lists of voters who are registered in more than one of the 26 states participating in the program, revealed that57,923 Virginia voters were registered to vote in at least one other state. Of course this number would be much higher if the Crosscheck program included every state – including New York, California, and Texas, the most populous states in the country.
Our Election Integrity Project leader, Robert Popper, will train Virginia’s poll watchers. Bob is a former deputy chief of the Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and a veteran poll observer for the Department of Justice.
The Election Integrity project began in February 2012. Since that time Judicial Watch has put several state and county officials on notice when they are in violation of federal laws requiring them to clean up their voter rolls.
We also took action in lawsuits defending photo ID and other commonsense election integrity measures. And there are also our historic and successful lawsuits in states like Ohio and Indiana that resulted in cleaner voter rolls and have achieved victories in the United States Supreme Court to stop race-based elections in Hawaii.
Our team also fought in court against the Left (i.e. the Obama administration) that wants to make it easier for non-citizens to register to vote, and harder to remove them once they are illegally registered. And Judicial Watch has conducted election monitoring before, for example in New Hampshire in 2014.
“Judicial Watch election monitors will be neutral and silent observers at select polling places in Virginia,” Popper noted. “We do not oppose or endorse candidates for public office. Our election monitoring in Virginia is wholly independent of any party or candidate.”
Recent polls show that voters are becoming “deeply skeptical” about election integrity. One poll found that 98 percent of people believe that voter fraud occurs: 74 percent believed that “some” or a “great deal” of voter fraud is going on, and 24 percent said hardly any. A poll in The Washington Post found that: “60% of Republicans believe illegal immigrants vote; 43% believe people vote using dead people’s names.”
Virginia residents interested in monitoring a local polling site on Election Day may respond by email to Eric Lee at email@example.com.
The integrity of our government begins with our ability to trust what happens in the voting booth. Incidents of voting fraud now flaring up around the country are an indication that our concern is not misplaced.
Let me encourage you to watch the “One America News Network Special Report: Clinton’s Pay-to-Play Scheme.”
This well-crafted report reveals how the Clintons went from being “broke” to being worth hundreds of millions. In it, you will hear the experts, including representatives from Judicial Watch, disclose how the Clinton Foundation traded government access in exchange for donations. You also will see the evidence of an FBI “cover-up” of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
You can watch it here. It is worth your time.
Until next week,