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CNN’s Griffin: Cheryl Mills Did Work on Behalf of Clinton Foundation While She Was Gov’t Employee, May Have Violated Ethics Rules


On Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” CNN Special Investigations Unit Reporter Drew Griffin reported that the State Department spent seven months stonewalling the Senate Judiciary Committee why then-Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills traveled to New York on June 19, 2012, and that a source has confirmed Mills was interviewing “top-level executives” at companies that were large donors to the Clinton Foundation for a leadership position at the Clinton Foundation, that the State Department gave CNN a “vague response” to questions on whether this violated ethics rules, and that the State Department’s response “raises more questions that are just not being answered, not to CNN, but worse, says one watchdog group, not to the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee, which has a right to know.”

Griffin said, “[A]t the time of Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State, she sent a letter to ethics officials at the State Department saying she would not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect upon this foundation. Well, Hillary Clinton didn’t, but one of her closest aides, did.”

He continued, “On June 19, 2012, Cheryl Mills, then the Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, boarded an Amtrak Acela train in Washington’s Union Station bound for New York. What she did, who she met with, and why has remained a mystery, even to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, until now. For the last seven months, Senate investigators have been trying to find out what Mills was up to, and for seven months, the US Department of State has refused to answer. Now, CNN has learned a potential reason why. Cheryl Mills, then a US government employee and Secretary of State Clinton’s Chief of Staff, was in New York working on behalf of the Clinton Foundation. A source close to the situation confirms to CNN Mills was interviewing two people for the leadership role of the foundation. The interviews took place inside the Park Avenue executive headhunting offices of Russell Reynolds. Mills would interview top-level executives at Wal-Mart and the drug company Pfizer, both companies huge donors to the Clinton Foundation, and partners with the Clinton Global Initiative. Was Mills’ role in violation of government ethics rules, did she have permission from the US State Department, did the State Department even know the trip was taking place? CNN has asked the US State Department all of these questions, this was the response, ‘Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities within the scope of the federal ethics rules…’ a State spokesperson tells CNN, ‘…all federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.’ That vague response raises more questions that are just not being answered, not to CNN, but worse, says one watchdog group, not to the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee, which has a right to know.”

Griffin added “The secrecy about the New York trip, the dual roles played by trusted assistants, the mixing of business between State, Clinton Foundation, and its donors all play into a central theme of Donald Trump’s campaign, that politicians, like the Clintons, use government to benefit themselves.”

Griffin also stated that Mills’ attorney said Mills was simply doing volunteer work for the foundation, and wasn’t paid, something that the Clinton Foundation also claims. He further stated that the Clinton campaign issued a statement that Mills volunteered her personal time, paid for her travel to New York City personally, and that Mills’ activity had “nothing to do with her official duties.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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