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Hillary Clintons Problem
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Hillary Clinton is probably going to win - and win big - on Election Night. But then she’ll have to wake up on Nov. 9, and come to terms with the fact that an unfriendly Congress is going to spend the next four years tormenting her over her email scandal and the tangled web of relationships at the Clinton Foundation.
And as they amass the pile of weaponized evidence so courteously handed to them by would-be Ecuadorian Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Clinton’s Inquisitors-in-Waiting are sitting on a doozy.
A memo made public Wednesday by WikiLeaks lays out, in excruciating detail, how Clinton consigliere and former White House aide Douglas Band built up what he called “Bill Clinton Inc.,” which added tens of millions of dollars the Clintons’ personal fortune, even as Hillary Clinton winged it around the world as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
As The Washington Post reports, Band, through his company, Teneo, obtained “in-kind services for [Bill Clinton] and his family for personal travel, hospitality and the like,” as part of an “aggressive” strategy of lining up both consulting contracts and personal speaking fees for the nation’s 42nd president.
Band and company co-founder, the former Hillary Clinton fund-raiser, Declan Kelly, declined to comment for The Post.
But in a statement, the company said that as the leaked memo “demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world. It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”
But that hardly matters.
Because the memo will do exactly zero to dispel the suspicions of the Clinton-haters who view the once (and likely future) First Family as little more than grasping greed-heads who treated their charitable foundation like a personal ATM, even as they installed a revolving door on the State Department for donors seeking access.
The Clinton campaign didn’t authenticate the memo - but it didn’t exactly dispute it either.
It’s true, of course, that the Clintons’ family foundation has done measurable good around the world (particularly when compared to the cash machine that passes for The Trump Foundation).
That’s a point that Clinton fans have repeatedly tried to make as the debate over the organization roils.
But, thanks to WikiLeaks (who, let’s not forget is run by a national security-compromising dirtbag who belongs in jail) that message has largely been swallowed.
And that’s because of stuff like this:
According to the memo, Band wrote that Teneo and its partners raised more than $8 million for the foundation and $3 million in speaking fees for Bill Clinton, The Post reported. Band boasted of netting contracts for Clinton that “would pay out $66 million over the subsequent nine years if the deals remained in place.”
That’s an insane amount of money by any objective measure. And those deals included Kelly arranging a 2009 meeting between the Clintons and Coca-Cola’s CEO at their home in Washington. The soft drink giant contributed $4.33 million to the foundation between 2004 and 2010, The Post reported, citing the memo.
A spokesman for Coke told The Post that the company added life, if you will, to the Clintons’ charitable enterprise, because it believed “in the great work that can be done when businesses, civil society and governments come together to solve problems.”
It’s a pretty argument - but it will only confirm the notions of a lot of people that Big Business, the wealthy and Washington’s power-brokers are all in glorious cahoots at the expense of the little guy.
When, for instance, was the last time you had Coke’s CEO over for bean dip to solve the world’s problems?
Right, you didn’t. But cash buys access and access leads to favors and favors lead to ...
Well, the White House apparently.
The Clinton Foundation will never not be a problem for Hillary and Bill Clinton. And instead of spending four years trying to get her agenda passed, a putative President Hillary Clinton will probably spend a lot more time trying to explain it all.
And they’ll only have themselves to blame.
Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at