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Do Latest State Department Emails Confirm that Special Favors Are Available to the Rich?


Harry G. Hutchison

August 11, 2016

4 min read

Executive Power



It is a disturbing pattern that demands the attention of all Americans.

Senator Hillary Clinton, before assuming office as Secretary of State, said that she was committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for government officials. She stated that she would not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on her financial interests or those of family members unless she first obtained a written waiver pursuant to law. Nevertheless, a recent batch of State Department emails indicates that donors to the Clinton Foundation and other Clinton related entities sought and likely received special access to government power.

If true, this development suggests that the State Department helmed by former Secretary of State Clinton may have violated the trust that the American people placed in it.

While average Americans continue to strain to pay their bills and while many Americans are still looking for either a satisfactory job or an increase in their real income, the newly released emails indicate that shady billionaires and wealthy donors to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative have thrived, perhaps by gaining special access to the Obama Administration’s State Department.

Consider the following.

In an e-mail exchange from April 2009, one of former President Clinton’s top aides and closest confidantes communicated with three of Secretary Clinton’s top advisors and aides.

The Wall Street Journal provides more details,

In an exchange from April 2009, a longtime aide to Mr. Clinton told three of Mrs. Clinton’s top advisers that it was “important to take care of” a particular person, whose name has been redacted from the document. That person had written the aide, Doug Band, under the subject line “A favor…” to thank him for the “opportunity to go on the Haiti trip,” which the person called “eye-opening.” Mr. Band was a chief adviser in helping Mr. Clinton launch the Clinton Foundation after leaving the White House.

One of Secretary Clinton’s top aides replied, expressing, “We have all had him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options.”

Similarly, in a separate exchange, this same long-time aide to former President Clinton asked two of Secretary Clinton’s top aides to facilitate a meeting between a “substance person” regarding Lebanon and a top Clinton Foundation donor. Evidently the top donor was none other than Gilbert “Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire [who] has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the foundation,” according to the Wall Street Journal. One of Secretary Clinton’s aides responded by furnishing the name of the State Department official who could help. Help emerged in the form of an individual who had previously served as a U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. In addition, the record shows that Mr. Chagoury organized a Caribbean trip in 2003 where former President Clinton was paid $100,000 for a speech.

Given this troubling and undemocratic pattern—one that appears consistent with possible pay-to-play schemes—the crucial question becomes: what favors have wealthy donors to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative received because of their unequal access to power?

This pattern demands immediate answers. While more than 90% of the growth in real income over the past decade has gone to the rich, and while average working Americans continue to struggle to pay their bills, the nation has become very aware that unequal access to power can be transformed into personal wealth. In response to evidence that government access has likely been converted into special favors for wealthy donors or other elites in possible violations of federal law and ethical obligations, the ACLJ is immediately launching a brand new Government Accountability Project that will seek answers to these questions.

Our Government Accountability Project has already filed suit in federal court against the Obama Administration’s State Department about its lies and cover-ups regarding nuclear negotiations with Iran. We’ve sent numerous other FOIA requests to demand justice and accountability from growing Executive lawlessness and corruption.

The rule of law demands answers and accountability for all public officials, no matter their resume or wealth.

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