Friday Newt Gingrich said the news that a key Clinton Foundation donor and Chicago financier, Rajiv Fernando, on a board advising then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons is “even more significant” than a probe showing her private emails had details about drone strikes.
“He was appointed to the group, which has the most sensitive secrets because it looks at Pakistan, North Korea, Russia,” the former House speaker told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” program. “Clinton, in effect, sold a seat on a nuclear weapons advisory group to a financier from Chicago who had no technical knowledge.”
ABC News, which broke the story, the State Department has recently released emails showing that Chicago securities trader Fernando was included along with nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries, and Congressional lawmakers on the International Security Advisory Board, even though his specialty was in electronic investing. He also later traveled with former President Bill Clinton to Africa, the report said.
“It’s very clear this is pure corruption,” Gingrich said. “This was cash for a seat on a board. The guy wanted something prestigious. She thought ‘what the heck, it has the biggest secrets I trust him, why don’t you trust him?’ The story that ABC has is pretty startling and the internal memos of the State Department in response to this are amazing in which all of the professionals are saying ‘I don’t know why he’s on the board. He shouldn’t be there.'”
ABC reports that the emails were provided to the network through the conservative political group Citizens United, which fought the government for two years for access to the documents through the federal Freedom of Information Act.
“We had no idea who he was,” one board member told ABC News. Board members long noted Fernando’s lack of knowledge in nuclear security, and the network first approached the State Department back in 2011 seeking a copy of the financier’s resume. Fernando resigned from the board soon after ABC started its probe.
Fernando, when appointed head of Chopper Trading, a leader in the field of high-frequency, computer-generated stock trading and had been giving money to Democrats and Clinton for some time, reports ABC, including supporting her 2008 bid for the presidency by giving maximum contributions to her campaign and the Hill PAC super PAC group in 2007 and 2008.
Fernando had gathered more than $100,000 for Clinton as a fundraising bundler as well, and after then-Sen. Barack Obama defeated Clinton for the White House, the financier then turned his attention to the Obama campaign. He also gave between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 the Women Count political advocacy group, which rented Hillary Clinton’s campaign email list.
Meanwhile, Wade Boese, chief of staff for the Office of the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said in an email that Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills added Fernando’s name to the list, and additional emails hint at Clinton having a role in Fernando’s appointment.
“The secretary had two other names she wanted looked at,” Mills writes in an email dated 2010. She forwarded the response to Clinton who then forwarded the email chain to another official about three minutes later.