Top Clinton Foundation Staffer Worried Conflict of Interest Reforms Would Hinder Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton CGI Getty

Longtime Bill Clinton aide and Clinton Foundation staffer Justin Cooper worried that the former president would have “real serious conflicts” if the Foundation enacted “too many” conflict of interest safeguards, emails from the Wikileaks dump reveal.

“I think there WJC may have some real serious conflicts if we start to make too many rules,” Cooper wrote in a November 2011 email referring to Bill Clinton by his initials WJC.

“It may be time to update some procedures but we can not ignore the nexus of WJC’s life,” Cooper’s email continued.

Cooper was responding to former top Clinton aide Doug Band, who accused Bill Clinton of having hundreds of conflicts of interest between his family’s embattled foundation, its sponsors, and a connected consulting firm called Teneo Holdings LLC.

“I signed a conflict of interest policy as a board member of cgi,” Band wrote in a November 2011 email to John Podesta. Referring to Bill Clinton as “wjc,” Band wrote, “Oddly, wjc does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc.”

Band continued, admitting that he “could add 500 different examples” of Bill Clinton’s conflicts of interest.

The aforementioned emails came during a increasingly contentious time for the Clinton foundation, ahead of a burgeoning power struggle between Band and Chelsea Clinton about the direction of the charity.

The clash between Band and Chelsea Clinton was likely spurred by an internal review — apparently requested by Chelsea — of the Clinton Foundation which revealed even the charity’s own employees gave it poor marks for effectiveness, rating it at a four or lower on a scale of 10.

The audit revealed problems with Clinton Foundation IRS filings and conflicts of interest due to Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State. The audit said that “Some interviewees reported conflicts of those raising funds or donors, some of whom may have an expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gifts.”

“We recommend that the Foundation establish a gift acceptance policy and procedures to ensure that all donors are properly vetted and that no inappropriate quid pro quos are offered to donors in return for contributions,” the audit read.

Band had served as a top aide to President Bill Clinton in the nineties and assisted in creating the Clinton Global Initiative. Band is also a founding partner of Teneo, a global consulting firm — with several connections to the Clintons — that obtained approval from the State Department for a paid consulting arrangement between Bill Clinton and Band.

Teneo is the same firm that paid Mrs. Clinton’s longtime right-hand woman Huma Abedin while she worked as a senior adviser to Clinton at the State Department.

A few months after Hillary Clinton took office in 2009, Abedin began communicating with Clinton Foundation donors, who were asking for favors from Clinton’s State Department.

While she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also handpicked Teneo co-founder and CEO Declan Kelly as her economic envoy to Northern Ireland.

Chelsea Clinton had accused Band of abusing his power and “hustling” business for Teneo at CGI meetings. Band responded to the criticism by calling Chelsea Clinton a “spoiled brat,” according to a Wikileaks email hack.

“I realize it is difficult to confront and reason with her but this could go to [sic] far and then we all will have a real serious set of other problems. I don’t deserve this from her and deserve a tad more respect or at least a direct dialogue for me to explain these things,” Band wrote in a 2011 email to Podesta, referring to Chelsea by her initials “cvc.”

Band’s email continued, “She is acting like a spoiled brat kid who has nothing else to do but create issues to justify what she’s doing because she, as she has said, hasn’t found her way and has a lack of focus in her life.”

Band reportedly cut ties with the Clintons in 2015.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson.