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Hacked memo shows overlap in Clinton Foundation fundraising, speech payments

By Eric DuVall
Hacked memo shows overlap in Clinton Foundation fundraising, speech payments
Hillary and Bill Clinton greet members of the audience following the first presidential debate on Sept. 26. A memo stolen by Russian hackers outlines the overlapping web of donors who have given money to the Clinton Foundation and the former persident personally for paid speaking engagements. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A memo obtained after an aide to Hillary Clinton had his email illegally hacked shows the overlapping web of philanthropic fundraising for the Clinton Foundation and the personal wealth generated for Bill Clinton from foundation donors.

Republicans, led by Donald Trump, have been highly critical of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, the Democratic nominee and former secretary of state, for alleged "pay to play" arrangements, suggesting donors to the Clinton Foundation were given special access to government officials, themselves included.

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A 13-page memo written by Doug Band, a former aide to Bill Clinton, spells out a number of high-profile corporate donors he also convinced to pay the former president personally for speeches, an operation he refers to as "Bill Clinton, Inc." The list includes Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, UBS Global Wealth Management and the for-profit college Laureate International Universities. The memo was released by WikiLeaks, which has promised to release a slew of documents intending to hurt the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

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In all, Band said in the memo the companies listed donated a total of $8 million to the foundation and paid Bill Clinton personally $3 million in speaking fees. In total, Band said the contracts would pay out $66 million over nine years to Clinton if the deals were left in place.

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Band wrote the work on behalf of Bill Clinton personally took place "independent" of the work done on behalf of the foundation, though several of the companies that paid Clinton personally also made donations to the foundation.

"Independent of our fundraising and decision-making activities on behalf of the foundation, we have dedicated ourselves to helping the president secure and engage in for-profit activities -- including speeches, books, and advisory service engagements," Band wrote. "In that context, we have in effect served as agents, lawyers, managers and implementers to secure speaking, business and advisory service deals. In support of the president's for-profit activity, we also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the president and his family -- for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like."

Band also noted the corporate consulting firm he founded with another former Clinton family aide had helped steer individuals and corporations toward donating to the foundation and paying the Clintons personally.

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None of the arrangements in the memo represent a quid pro quo wherein donors were given special access or perks from the government that would not otherwise be available, but it does underscore the core Republican criticism of the Clinton Foundation, a massive philanthropic organization critics have said serves to personally enrich its founders, the Clinton family.

Band's memo is particularly direct in boasting of his fundraising prowess because, according to The Washington Post, it was written in 2011, at a time when Band was privately feuding with Chelsea Clinton, the Clintons' daughter, who had grown into a more prominent role with the foundation. Chelsea Clinton, the Post said, had become skeptical of the outsized influence Band had on the foundation's inner workings. Band helped Bill Clinton get the foundation off the ground immediately following his presidency in the early 2000s and was the driving force behind the Clinton Global Initiative, a yearly conference that brought together world leaders, business leaders and academics to discuss world problems.

A spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign did not authenticate the memo, but Band did. Clinton's campaign has routinely refused to comment on material posted by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks because it is believed the information was obtained by Russian hackers who infiltrated the email account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The hackers then passed the information to WikiLeaks in an effort to damage Clinton's campaign.

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Band's consulting firm, Teneo, confirmed the authenticity of the memo and said it shows the company has not benefitted from its work on behalf of Bill Clinton of the Clinton Foundation.

"As the memo states, 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."

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