Hillary Clinton and her campaign have repeatedly insisted that Clinton Foundation donors and other associates of the family never received any special treatment from the State Department during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State. E-mails gleaned from FOIA actions tell a much different story. While the US government tried to respond to a 2010 humanitarian crisis in Haiti, State spent its time sifting through access requests to identify “FOBs” — Friends of Bill — by way of the Clinton Foundation’s top executives, ABC News reports:
In a series of candid email exchanges with top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations “FOB” (friends of Bill Clinton) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs).
“Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,” wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. “Most I can probably ID but not all.”
“Is this a FOB!” Klevorick writes later, when a Clinton Foundation aide forwards a woman’s offer of medical supplies. “If not, she should go to cidi.org,” she adds, directing the person deemed not to be a Clinton friend to a general government website.
Klevorick and Amitabh Desai, the director of foreign policy for the Clinton Foundation, exchanged dozens of emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Republican National Committee and then shared with ABC News. ABC News independently authenticated the emails. …
However noble the motives of the officials working to get supplies into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, numerous messages show a senior aide to then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coordinating with a Clinton Foundation official to identify FOBs. The Clintons have said repeatedly that the State Department never gave favorable treatment to foundation supporters in Haiti or anywhere else.
It’s one thing to have aides prioritize access to a Cabinet official on the basis of personal contacts. That happens all the time in both the private and public sectors. The bar is expected to be higher in public office, as the office belongs to the people and not to the person entrusted with it, but part of the expertise one brings to these offices is the knowledge of trusted resources. That’s why lobbyists and others with interests before the government seek out senior staffers and woo them as well as the politicians for whom they work.
That, however, isn’t what happened here. State outsourced this to the Clinton Foundation, which makes this an entirely different arrangement. That relationship between the Clintons’ own interests and State make it clear that the foundation existed to peddle influence within the US government. Those who could afford to pony up large sums of cash to the Clinton “charity” got flagged for special access, as these e-mails show. Otherwise, there’s no point in working with the foundation to identify the FOBs.
This is explicit corruption, not implied. FOBs needed to come through the family foundation for access to the Secretary of State — and during a humanitarian crisis, no less. It’s a quid pro quo that is indefensible ethically and politically, and perhaps legally as well. The latter is a moot point because the current Department of Justice has made clear that it won’t enforce the law with Hillary Clinton or her aides, but it should matter to everyone else.