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Salon: ‘Massive Clinton Fundraising Operation’ Inside State Dept. Raked in Cash for Hillary

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Editor’s Note: This excerpt, from a book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, first appeared on the left-wing site Salon. We reprint in part here. 

Hillary tapped Kris Balderston, the hit list author, to keep the Clinton political network humming at State. A longtime lieutenant to both Clintons, Balderston, who called everyone “buddy,” liked to talk in salesman’s terms about Hillary’s “power to convene” and her commitment to making sure her partners could “do well by doing good.” What he meant was that Hillary could use the Clinton Rolodex to focus private-sector money, government power, and the expertise at colleges and nonprofits to solve global problems. At best, they would do a public service and make a buck. At worst, they would make a powerful friend. Balderston became, for lack of a better term, Hillary’s special ops guy at State.

 He wrote Hillary the first memo on his concept for an office that would mirror Bill’s Clinton Global Initiative on December 8, 2008, less than a week after she was named to her job and more than six weeks before she took office. Though she had to wait for some of her lieutenants to clear the Obama vetting process and a Senate confirmation vote, she had made it a priority to empower Balderston, the political fixer who could help her build unique networks connecting her State Department to other government agencies, the nonprofit sector, and the corporate world. While many Democrats believe that government is the answer to the world’s problems, and many Republicans believe the same of the private sector, Balderston’s office was the embodiment of Hillary’s core Clintonian belief that government, business, and charitable organizations are all vital components of a thriving society.

“It’s more than raising money,” said one source familiar with the concept. “It’s networking other people’s intellectual property, networks, lists, that sort of thing. You need somebody who does more than just raise money.” Just like the Clinton Global Initiative.

But intellectual property and network expansion would have to wait—Hillary needed cash. Balderston was still setting up the office when Hillary approached him at the end of February 2009. “I have the first project for you,” she said. The job: raise more than $60 million from the private sector in nine months. In an era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns, that might not sound like much jack. But the government generally doesn’t raise money from the private sector, in large part because of the potential for corporate donors to give with the expectation that they will get specific government actions in return. Moreover, Congress and the Bush administration had shunned the very initiative Hillary wanted Balderston to execute.

Read the complete excerpt.


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