Donald Trump and fellow Republicans are reviving long-simmering allegations of murky deals and ‘pay-to-play’ surrounding the Clintons, in the wake of new revelations from WikiLeaks-published emails about how the family, their foundation and the Hillary Clinton State Department operated alongside each other.
“The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more the lines between the Clinton Foundation, the Secretary of State’s office, and the Clintons’ personal finances are blurred,” the GOP presidential nominee said in a statement Thursday.
Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s hacked account reveal numerous conflict-of-interest concerns raised by Clinton Foundation staffers and subsequent efforts to separate the entangled companies and roles that made Bill and Hillary Clinton wealthy. The messages also dredge up the several companies that donated to the Foundation – and at the same time had business before the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
“If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren’t in the White House, just imagine what they will do if they are given the chance to control the Oval Office,” Trump said.
Trump alluded to a 12-page memo written by Bill Clinton confidant Doug Band and revealed on Wednesday by WikiLeaks. The document spelled out in detail how Band and Clinton aide Justin Cooper had used their connections at global strategies company Teneo to enrich Clinton, while also raising funds for the Clinton Foundation. The memo claimed that Band and Cooper were responsible for earning Clinton at least $50 million in fees for speeches and other business ventures.
“Mr. Band called the arrangement ‘unorthodox.’ The rest of us call it outright corruption,” Trump said at the Springfield rally.
Teneo, which was co-founded by Band, issued a statement to FoxNews.com on Wednesday saying the company never received “any financial benefit or benefit of any kind” from Band’s work on behalf of the Clintons.
“As the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world,” the statement said.
Teneo was founded in June 2011, while Band and Cooper were still employed by the Foundation. Bill Clinton soon also signed on as an adviser for Teneo.
But after Chelsea Clinton was brought on as a board member in November and Podesta as a special adviser at the same time, staffers began complaining about potential conflicts of interest and other misdeeds within the company, emails show. Band had his own list of allegations, implicating Bill Clinton in unnamed conflicts of interest, too. The Foundation also was undergoing an internal audit.
The Hillary Clinton campaign was seemingly well-aware of the ethical concerns surrounding the organization as it prepared to launch in early 2015. One unearthed email from now-Campaign Manager Robby Mook to key Clinton advisers cited “Foundation vulnerability points.”
This included “Money from foreign governments;” “Overseas events with foreign leaders or government officials;” and “Especially lavish/high-end hotels for events.”
Eventually, Band and Cooper left the Foundation but remained advisers to Clinton. Clinton resigned from his role at Teneo but became a client.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller on Thursday called for the Clintons to release “all the internal documents” related to the Clinton Foundation’s “in-depth investigation into whether they were violating IRS charity rules because of the money-making efforts of the Clintons.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also ripped the Clinton’s over the “Bill Clinton Inc.” memo that detailed how aides helped secure lucrative speaking gigs and posts for the former president.
“This memo is the smoking gun for how the Clintons used their foundation to create a massive for-profit paid speaking and consulting business to enrich themselves,” Priebus said in a statement. “All of their talk about charitable work masks the fact they were eager to get their own cut of the action. That the Clintons raked in millions of dollars while these same donors had business before Hillary Clinton’s State Department points to a rampant pay-to-play culture that would be on full display should Hillary Clinton be elected president.”
The Clinton campaign has rejected any ‘pay-to-play’ claims and has blasted WikiLeaks’ daily postings as the work of the Russian government.
“We are still not confirming the authenticity of individual emails hacked by the Russian government to influence the election by weaponizing WikiLeaks,” campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement.
Fox News also reported Thursday that while Podesta was serving with Clinton’s State Department, his sister-in-law Heather Podesta was hired by defense contractor Raytheon as a lobbyist in 2012. In that role, she lobbied the State Department, records show, while Raytheon was the prime contractor in numerous foreign military sales worth billions that year.
“Today’s report that a large government contractor hired the sister-in-law of Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta while he was at the State Department in order to win a massive arms contract shows the depths of the corrupt Clinton machine while she was at State,” Trump spokesman Miller said in a statement.
Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, told Fox News that the nominee “never took action as secretary of state because of any donations and any suggestion to the contrary is false.”
In a statement, Raytheon said its lobbying practices and policies are fully disclosed and comply with all federal, state and local laws. Heather Podesta sent Fox News a one-sentence email saying: “I never lobbied the Secretary or John Podesta on this matter.”