The Washington Examiner reports that 194 of Hillary Clinton’s donors were named to advisory boards while she was Secretary of State between 2009 and 2012.
These were all people who donated to “either to her family’s foundation, her political campaigns, or both, or were affiliated with groups that had,” according to the Examiner’s review of federal records. Fully 40 percent of the State Department advisory appointments during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State went to her donors.
The Examiner is careful to note such appointments are not illegal or unprecedented, as “presidents and cabinet secretaries from both parties have long rewarded friends and contributors with high-level appointments,” but suggests this news will not mix well with questions swirling around “pay for play” access given to Clinton Foundation donors by the former Secretary of State.
It is also pointed out that some of these advisory appointees had little or no apparent qualification for their advisory board appointments, such as $100,000 Clinton donation bundler and longtime friend Kaki Hockersmith, who ended up on the United States National Commission on UNESCO. UNESCO is a global humanitarian organization; Hockersmith is an interior designer by trade.
Another UNESCO board appointment went to Betsy Cohn, who was one of the Clinton donors rewarded with a stay in the Lincoln Bedroom during an especially tawdry chapter of Bill Clinton’s presidency. A third spot went to Sara Ehrman, who is currently associated with the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, which is presided over by a $10 million Clinton Foundation donor.
One more interesting name to pop out of the Washington Examiner piece is Ken Miller, a banking executive given a spot on the International Economic Policy board. Miller was also a senior adviser to Teneo Holdings while Clinton was Secretary of State… the very same Clinton-linked company that helped Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin triple-dip, billing taxpayers for her work at the State Department while she was also paid by Teneo and the Clinton Foundation.
One of Teneo’s clients, Judith Rodin, was appointed by Hillary Clinton to the Secretary of State’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership. Rodin gained a little notoriety as the subject of an email between a Teneo executive and Huma Abedin, asking Abedin if she could help land Rodin a job in the Obama White House.
The Examiner mentions the already well-documented story of Rajiv Fernando, a Chicago businessman with no security qualifications who was nevertheless appointed to the International Security Advisory Board at Hillary Clinton’s insistence – according to emails uncovered by Citizens United – giving him top-secret security clearance.
Fernando, who donated $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and bundled $100,000 in donations for Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, resigned from the board after ABC News began asking pointed questions about his appointment.
(Those Citizens United emails also revealed Clinton aides talked about stalling ABC News while they figured out how to handle the Fernando disaster, a revelation that did not amuse ABC News. At least one of Secretary of State Clinton’s senior aides, however, thought Fernando’s improbable appointment was worth a chuckle.)
Matthew Whitaker of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust told the Examiner these appointments were “consistent with all of the other disturbing cases where Clinton Foundation and political donors received special access and treatment.”
“It would be highly unethical to not only give donors special access to the State Department, but actually give them a board position based upon their donor status,” he added.
Clinton Foundation president Donna Shalala, who was once Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, dismissed these appointments as mere “courtesy appointments” with no effect on “policy decisions” in a recent interview.