Monday, August 22, 2016

Clinton Circle: Sophisticated Influence Peddling

It used to be people left public service for private enrichment.  Under the Clinton circle that no longer needed to happen.  Take Huma Abedin.  Vanity Fair reported:

One of Clinton’s most trusted aides is Huma Abedin, vice-chairwoman of the current campaign, who began her work with the Clintons in 1996 as an intern. Abedin is as secretive as Clinton herself, if not more so, and she is the primary gatekeeper. She often forwards press coverage and other messages, highlighting once again the mediating membrane that exists between Hillary and ordinary reality. Abedin is one of the State Department employees who had a e-mail account, and in 2012, after she stepped down as deputy chief of staff, she was granted “special government employee” status, which allowed her to continue at the State Department while working as a consultant for the Clinton Foundation and Teneo (a firm co-founded by Douglas Band, a former Clinton aide).
Politico noted how Abedin navigated her state department role:

When Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain wanted face time with Hillary Clinton in the first months of her time at the State Department, top aide Huma Abedin worked as a go-between for the Clinton Foundation and the secretary of state to facilitate the appointment, working official channels while coordinating with top Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band.
Judicial Watch added:

Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours.
That's the same Doug Band who blurred the lines between the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, the consulting firm he founded.  NYT reported in 2013

None have drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo, a firm co-founded in 2009 by Mr. Band, described by some as a kind of surrogate son to Mr. Clinton. Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers and set up shop in a Midtown office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.

By 2011, the firm had added a third partner, Declan Kelly, a former State Department envoy for Mrs. Clinton. And Mr. Clinton had signed up as a paid adviser to the firm.

Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees as high as $250,000, according to current and former clients. The firm recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors, while Mr. Band and Mr. Kelly encouraged others to become new foundation donors. Its marketing materials highlighted Mr. Band’s relationship with Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Band sat on the board of directors through 2011 and remains an adviser. Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.
It's a big money wash, sloshing back and forth for Clinton insiders. Abedin and Band exemplify the low ethical standards in the Clinton camp.  They also symbolize those who've been enriched in outsize ways, while most suffer from stagnant wages and dwindling retirement/healthcare benefits.  

Teneo caters to the corporate CEOs who've capped wages and shifted benefit responsibility to workers and retirees.

Just like the political world, everything boils down to image management.  Those who uphold the myths receive a king's ransom while truth tellers are eviscerated. It's necessary to keep one's good name.

Update 11-5-16:  Clinton's inner circle mining of cash from inside and outside government is the topic of at least one Wikileaks e-mail.