Clinton Foundation Firestorm
AUGUST 12, 2016
Remember how Hillary Clinton repeatedly assured us all that she had turned over all work-related emails? And that she avoided any conflicts of interest with her Clinton Foundation?
Well, this week we released 296 pages of State Department records containing 44 email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department. This brings the known total to 171 of new Clinton emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over. These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.
The new documents reveal that in April 2009 controversial Clinton Foundation official Doug Band pushed for a job for an associate. In the email, Band tells Hillary Clinton’s former aides at the State Department, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, that it is “important to take care of [Redacted]. Band is reassured by Abedin that, “Personnel has been sending him options.” Band was co-founder of Teneo Strategy with Bill Clinton and a top official of the Clinton Foundation, including its Clinton Global Initiative.
Included is a 2009 email in which Band directs Abedin and Mills to put Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon. Band notes that Chagoury is “key guy there [Lebanon] and to us,” and insists that Abedin call Amb. Jeffrey Feltman to connect him to Chagoury.
Chagoury, a foreign national, is a close friend of former President Bill Clinton and a top donor to the Clinton Foundation. He has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor, according to foundation documents. He also pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. According to a 2010 investigation by PBS Frontline, Chagoury was convicted in 2000 in Switzerland for laundering money from Nigeria, but agreed to a plea deal and repaid $66 million to the Nigerian government.
Clinton’s top aides’ favors for and interactions with the Clinton Foundation seem in violation of the ethics agreements that Hillary Clinton agreed to in order to be appointed and confirmed as Secretary of State. For example, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton on January 5, 2009, wrote in a letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James H. Thessin:
“For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party….”
As preparation for Hillary’s upcoming visit to Asia, Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, on Feb. 11, 2009, sends Hillary a copy of his upcoming testimony before Congress in which he would condemn any U.S. efforts to criticize Chinese monetary policy or enact trade barriers. Several days later, Hillary asked Abedin about Roach possibly “connecting” with her while she was in Beijing: “I forwarded you my email to him about connecting in Beijing. Can he come to the embassy or other event?” Morgan Stanley is a long-time financial supporter of the Clintons.
The emails also reveal that Abedin left then-Secretary Clinton’s daily schedule, a presumably sensitive document, on a bed in an unlocked hotel room. An email on April 18, 2009, during a conference in Trinidad and Tobago, from aide Melissa J. Lan to Huma Abedin asks for the Secretary’s “day book binders.” Abedin replies: “Yes. It’s on the bed in my room. U can take it. My door is open. I’m in the lobby.Thx.” Moreover, the emails show the annoyance of another Clinton aide that the schedule was sent to an authorized State Department email address and not to an unsecured non-state.gov account.
The emails reveal that Clinton campaign adviser and pollster Mark Penn advised Clinton on NATO and piracy. Another major Clinton fundraiser, Lana Moresky, also pushed Clinton to hire someone for a position at State. Clinton directed Abedin to follow up and “help” the applicant and told Abedin to “let me know” about the job issue.
The emails show that Hillary Clinton relied on someone named “Justin” (presumably Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton and Clinton Foundation employee), to set up her cell phone voicemail, rather than having State Department personnel handle it. This was in a February 11, 2009, email from Clinton aide Lauren Jiloty to Clinton, using Clinton’s email@example.com address.
This is the ninth set of records produced for Judicial Watch by the State Department from the non-state.gov email accounts of Huma Abedin.
The documents were produced under a court order in a May 5, 2015, Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) requiring the agency to produce “all emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013, using a ‘non-state’.gov email address.”
It’s no wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress. They show that the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.
These revelations have created a national firestorm in the media, as even the liberal media grasp the significance of the Clinton Foundation’s pay for play relationship with the Clinton State Department. See these major stories in the New York Post and The New York Times or this major editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
For more, I’ll be on “O’Reilly Factor” again tonight and my colleague Chris Farrell, who leads our investigation team, will be on Fox News tomorrow (Saturday) during the noon hour.
The Clinton email/Foundation scandal isn’t going away. You can bet we’ll have more revelations and pressure is bound to increase for a serious criminal investigation of any potential crimes.
We have joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in filing an amici curiae brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit arguing that the court should reverse a lower court that struck down an Ohio law shortening the state’s absentee voting period from 35 to 29 days (Ohio Democratic Party v. Husted (No. 16-3561).
This reduction had the effect of eliminating the inaptly named “Golden Week,” a period of early voting in which Ohioans could also register to vote.
Ohio requires all voters to register 30 days before the election. It allows all voters to vote absentee over a 29-day period. It also gives all voters 13 hours to vote on election day.
The district court decided that a reduction in early voting from 35 to 29 days would disproportionately burden African Americans because of the reduction of opportunities to vote.
However, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio also found that any actual effect the law might have on minority registration or turnout would be “modest”:
“[A]lthough the Court cannot predict how many African Americans will turn out in future elections, it is reasonable to conclude from this evidence that their right to vote will be modestly burdened by S.B. 238’s reduction in the EIP [early in-person] voting period and elimination of SDR [same day registration].”
The Judicial Watch/AEF brief cites studies that contradict this assumption. A 2013 study by Barry C. Burden and co-authors, published in the American Journal of Political Science, study found that:
It seems logical that making voting more convenient . . . will encourage more people to cast ballots. We challenge this notion and show that the most popular reform – early voting – actually decreases turnout when implemented by itself, an unanticipated consequence that has significant implications for policy and for theories of how state governments can influence turnout. This result is counterintuitive, and it certainly runs against the grain of conventional wisdom.
A June 2016 report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) about the “depressant effect” of early voting found:
We reviewed 20 studies from 12 publications, and these studies had varied findings. Seven studies found no statistically significant effect, another 8 studies found that the policy decreased turnout, and 5 studies reported mixed evidence. Reported effects from these studies ranged from a 3.8 percentage point decrease in turnout to a 3.1 percentage point increase. [Emphasis added]
Judicial Watch and AEF conclude that:
It is, then, a serious, open question as to whether the elimination of early voting will lead to lower voter turnout. Because the plaintiffs have failed to present persuasive evidence establishing the likely effect of early voting on voter turnout, they have not met their burden of establishing their claims by a preponderance of the evidence. Amici respectfully submit that judgment, therefore, should be entered for the defendants.
In the alternative, this case should be remanded to the district court for further findings on the specific issue of the probable effect of the requested injunction on voter turnout in subsequent elections.
Amici respectfully submit that this Court should not affirm the judgment of the district court. If it were to do so, this Court risks issuing a judgment that is not only wrong, but perverse, in that it might lead to lower voter turnout in direct contravention of one of the basic purposes of the Voting Rights Act.
Early voting is a bad public policy that increases costs, increases the likelihood of fraud, and confuses voters – leading to depressed voter turnout. It is absurd and dishonest to suggest racism being behind the sensible reform of cutting early voting down from a ridiculous 35 days before Election Day.
The Allied Educational Foundation is a charitable and educational foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life through education. We have frequently partnered with AEF to fight government and judicial corruption and to promote a return to ethics and morality in the nation’s public life.
An incisive new expose our Investigative Bulletin charges that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, real estate developer Bruce Ratner, and Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are key players in a “new Tammany Hall” that manipulates billions of dollars of public funds into vast private profits.
Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, wrote the report. It provides a roadmap to how New York City’s controversial Atlantic Yards development project became what Morrison terms “a giant boondoggle generating torrents of cash for well-connected insiders.” Among the highlights of the Morrison piece:
- Real estate developer and Democratic Party heavyweight Bruce Ratner is the central figure in the battles over Atlantic Yards. Smart, tough and tireless, Ratner has courted controversy with unfulfilled promises of public benefits, multi-million-dollar paydays, and links to crooked politicians and their enablers. Ratner has close ties to de Blasio and Clinton. Clinton’s presidential campaign headquarters is in a Ratner building in Brooklyn.
- One lucrative lever of the new Tammany system is called the Public Authorities Control Board. According to court testimony, it has no staff, no offices, and has approved “billions of dollars of bond sales.” In a 2006 meeting that lasted just five minutes, the PACB approved Ratner’s Atlantic Yards proposal, despite mounting opposition to the project. The price tag: $4 billion.
- PACB approval opened the door for Ratner to receive taxpayer-backed benefits and financing. The benefits included an immediate cash injection of $100 million for “new infrastructure” such as “streets and sewers,” according to testimony by a state budget official in a lawsuit, and a later $511 million sale of tax-free bonds.
- Ratner received state-backed financing and $726 million in “special government benefits” – your tax dollars at work – to help finance the Barclays Center portion of site, according to an analysis by the city’s Independent Budget Office. The benefits included “direct contributions of cash, capital investment and property; access to tax-exempt financing; exemptions from property, sales, and mortgage taxes, and below market sale” of Metropolitan Transportation Authority land, the IBO report said. Despite all that, Barclays looked like a loser for the city. The arena would “cost the city nearly $40 million more in spending” than it would generate in tax revenues, the report said.
- In 2014, Ratner sold an ownership stake in Atlantic Yards (excluding the Barclays site) for $208 million. The buyer: Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings, a company controlled by the Chinese government. In a move of Orwellian audacity, Ratner and his new Chinese partners promptly changed the name of the site from Atlantic Yards to Pacific Park. Greenland “now reaps the benefit of the subsidies, tax breaks and cheap land that Forest City Ratner wangled for the project in the 2000s,” wrote Norman Oder, a Brooklyn journalist who chronicles the project on the watchdog blog, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report
- Public money, private profit, promises unkept: in that sense, the old Tammany system is not much different from the new one. It took reformers decades to crush old Tammany. In April, in a sharp warning to de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Attorney Bharara told Common Cause New York that he would “keep looking hard at corruption,” not just in the legislative branch, but in the “executive branch too, both in city and in state government.”
Micah’s bold expose of apparent massive corruption at the highest levels of government in America’s largest city should outrage all who are appalled by political pay-for-play schemes. That’s why we are demanding records from the mayor’s office for the timely production of materials relating to this controversy. We will take it to court if necessary, because the public has a right to know. In the meantime, please read (and share) our major investigative piece here.
I’m very pleased to tell you that our new book, Clean House: Exposing Our Government’s Secrets and Lies, will be out on August 30. You can learn more and find out how preorder a copy here.
The Weekly Update will be “vacation” next week, but you can stay on top of the news by checking our web site (www.judicialwatch.org)…