WikiLeaks: Clinton Global Initiative CEO Questioned Whether CGI ‘Can Exist’ if Hillary Wins

Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Clinton Global Initiative chief executive officer Robert Harrison sent a lengthy email to John Podesta in October 2015 concerning “whether CGI can and will exist beyond 2016 if Secretary Clinton becomes the next President,” according to purported emails uncovered in the WikiLeaks dump.

Harrison said, “Given the high level of (job) insecurity among CGI staff and the questions our members and sponsors regularly ask us about the future of CGI,” a “discussion of strategy for CGI in 2017 and beyond” was imperative.

Harrison described what he called “fundamental issues” facing the organization, namely that “CGI’s existence depends on President Clinton’s active and visible participation as the convener” and that “the economic viability of CGI depends on its ability to attract members  and sponsors to support the enterprise.”

Referring to Hillary Clinton by her initials, “HRC,” Harrison solicited Podesta’s “perspective on the constraints” the organization “may need to adopt under an HRC administration.”

“Without a better feel for the likely constraints under a potential HRC presidency, I am not able to give useful strategic advice to the principals,” the CGI head wrote.

Harrison’s email to Podesta came during a contentious time for the Clinton Foundation. A year after Harrison began asking the aforementioned questions, Bill Clinton was warning the foundation’s senior staff that he will resign from the Clinton Foundation board and cease giving paid speeches if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Clinton foundation’s flagship project, announced plans to spin off into a “completely independent” charity.

In response to swirling controversies surrounding her family foundation, Hillary Clinton skipped the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference in September, marking the second year in a row that she failed to show up for the star-studded three-day event that puts celebrities, business leaders, and philanthropists in close proximity.

Last month, a public opinion poll found that a majority of Americans believe Bill and Hillary Clinton failed to avoid conflicts of interest as millions of dollars flowed into their corrupt family foundation.

Harrison went on to explain the “issues” that he and Podesta “need to address if HRC is President.”

“Can WJC invite members to, and host, CGI events?” Harrison wrote, referring to former Presidential Bill Clinton. “Can CGI hold the kind of events we have historically held? (Annual Meeting, CGI America, CGI U, and CGI International (already eliminated for  the campaign). What restrictions on types of sponsors will need to be taken into account? (corporations, individuals, foundations, foreign? Is Rockefeller Foundation okay, but Procter and Gamble not?”

“If corporate or individual or foreign sponsorship is precluded, is  there an acceptable membership alternative for those organizations, and at what price point does that fee become unacceptable?” Harrison continued.

Harrison said he had “no ability to propose a business model that can work beyond 2016 without having a better feel for how the lawyers and ethicists in a Hillary Clinton White House might look at these issues.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson