In a 2011 memo, an aide to Bill Clinton laid out the messy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the former president's personal interests, detailing how some foundation donors also paid Clinton to speak and provide consulting services.
The memo was released on Wednesday as part of a Wikileaks dump of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails.
Doug Band, a long-time aide to Bill Clinton, wrote the 2011 memo as part of an internal audit at the Clinton Foundation. In trying to explain his role in the Foundation, Band also brought up a series of instances he and his consulting company, Teneo Holdings, helped Bill Clinton secure for-profit contracts.
The memo, which was being circulated to some in Clinton's inner circle including Podesta, reinforces Republican criticisms of the blurred lines between the foundation and professional interests of the Clintons and their associates.
“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.”
At one point, Band even referred to the former president’s money-making enterprises as “Bill Clinton, Inc.”
Band said and Justin Cooper, another long-time aide, weren’t separately compensated for helping Bill Clinton profit.
“We do not receive a fee for, or percentage of, the more than $50 million in for-profit activity we have personally helped to secure for President Clinton to date or the $66 million in future contracts, should he choose to continue with those engagements,” he continued.
Band offered specific examples of donors who also worked with Bill Clinton in a private capacity as well.
Band noted that Laureate International Universities was a foundation donor, having donated $1.4 million at the time the memo was written. The for-profit college network ultimately retained the former president as an adviser, paying him millions of dollars over several years.
“Laureate is a Foundation relationship that evolved into a personal advisory services business relationship for President Clinton,” Band wrote in the memo. He said he began managing the relationship which Teneo partners took over in 2011, and which Band said "is very time-consuming. Laureate pays President Clinton $3.5 million annually to provide advice and serve as their Honorary Chairman.”
Another Teneo client, GEMS education, had donated approximately $780,000 by the time the memo was written in 2011.
“Gems approached President Clinton in 2009 to seek his personal services as an advisor to the company,” Band wrote. “Justin and I convinced them to initiate a relationship to the Foundation, which they did; that relationship has grown into a business relationship for President Clinton and a donor relationship for CGI.”
In an email to Podesta, who at the time was involved with the Clinton Foundation, Band brought up the fact he had been required to sign a conflict of interest policy because his wife designed bags for the charity and his consulting firm represented some of the foundation donors.
“Oddly, wjc (William Jefferson Clinton) does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi (Clinton Global Initiative) sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc,” Band wrote. “I could add 500 different examples of things like this.”
A spokesperson from Teneo forwarded a statement to USA TODAY.
“As the 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,” the statement said.
The email with the memo was part of a near-daily dump by Wikileaks. The Clinton campaign has neither confirmed or denied the authenticity of the emails, but they blame the Russians for the hack, saying President Vladimir Putin is trying to skew the election for Donald Trump.
Trump immediately jumped on the report at a rally in Ohio Thursday.
“The more emails Wikileaks releases the more lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state's office and the Clinton's personal financiers — they all get blurred,” Trump said.