Friday, June 20, 2014

Bill de Blasio and New York City's Clintongate Scandal: A Tale of Three Phonies--Part 12

(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)

Bill de Blasio’s Clintongate Scandal Connection

In an Aug. 28, 2013 article, titled “The Press Scrutinizes the New Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation”, that was posted on the Philanthropy website, Rick Cohen noted that “the intersection of the Clintons’ foundation and Hillary Clinton’s presidential run has generated a spate of articles suggesting that the renamed and expanded foundation is really now a `pre-campaign organization’ for the campaign and is becoming `the command post for all things Hillary. The same article also observes: 

“If you were someone who wanted to get in good with someone with a decent shot of becoming the next president, you might show up at one of the upcoming fundraisers associated with Hillary or Chelsea, such as the scheduled November 9th `Millennium Network’ event, with top-tier $15,000 donors getting themselves photographed with Hillary herself…The association with a possible future president’s name probably makes the foundation nearly irresistible to donors….The ex-president has attracted some raised eyebrows due to the character of occasional donors (notably Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who received some personal benefits from his association with the former president) and questions about some of his foundation’s initiatives…

“The new foundation with Hillary on the nameplate has garnered new scrutiny, including an in-depth article in the New York Times co-authored by Nick Confessore and Amy Chozick. The NYT reporters wrote about the ever-increasing size of the foundation (now with 350 employees), a constantly changing board of various Clinton intimates, $50 million in travel expenditures since 2003…and hints of conflicts of interest concerning [Doug] Band, who has left the foundation to start a private consulting business—not to mention Hillary Clinton’s expanding `nerve center’ of staff, which occupies two floors of the foundation’s Midtown Manhattan offices…

“There are plenty who are plying the foundation for access to the Clintons and their associates..The business and political overlaps show up with Band’s company, Teneo, which seems to have employed Huma Abedin while she was a `special government employee’ at the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary…

"The investigative journalism the news that it is now officially being co-managed by the former president and the former Secretary of State. `I think having a place such as this for a platform gives her a great launching pad into 2016,’ former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told Politico. `It gives her, quite frankly, a great place with which to create or begin to create the message she would use should she decide to run….”

Yet as the New York City Public Advocate since 2010-whose public office website claims to be holding both corporations and tax-exempt “non-profit” organizations like the Clinton Foundation/Clinton Global Initiative accountable to the public--Bill de Blasio has apparently failed to adequately monitor or investigate the apparently self-serving and unethical way the Clintons have been operating their New York City-based Clinton Foundation/Clinton Global Initiative.

But around the same time that the Clintons’ former 1996 New York campaign director, Clinton-appointed HUD official and 2000 U.S. Senate campaign manager began his term as the New York City Public Advocate, the Washington Post observed in a Jan. 2, 2010 article:

“Foreign governments, longtime Democratic fund-raisers...gave money to President Clinton’s…foundation in 2009, according to a list of donors the foundation released yesterday under an agreement with President Obama to prevent the appearance of conflicts with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s role as secretary of state.

“Some foreign governments…had been multimillion-dollar donors in the past, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait, and Qatar…, Other governments continued their giving, including Norway, which has given $10 million to $25 million over the past several years, and Oman, whose donations have totaled $1 million to $5 million.

“Also among the 19,047 donors from last year are Slim-Fast founder and billionaire Democratic donor S. Daniel Abraham, who has given the Clinton Foundation $5 million to $10 million; Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra, who has given more than $25 million; and Scottish financier Sir Tom Hunter, whose foundation has donated $10 million to $25 million. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also gave money in 2009 and ranks among the top donors, having given more than $25 million...Some…Clinton Foundation supporters did not give money last year, including Hollywood magnate Stephen Bing and upstate New York businessman Tom Golisano, each of whose past donations total $10 million to $25 million. Citigroup, the banking firm that has received federal bailout money, is a past supporter…Richard Scaife, a conservative media baron… has given the Clinton Foundation $100,001 to $250,000…

“The foundation…financed the construction of Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock…. Clinton resisted revealing his foundation’s donors during his wife’s presidential campaign, but he agreed to do so in late 2008 when Hillary Clinton was negotiating with Obama’s transition team to join the Cabinet….”

In a Sept. 22, 2013 article in The New Republic, titled “Scandal at Clinton Inc.,”  Alec MacGillis also wrote the following in reference to the tax-exempt Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative “philanthropies” and their apparent connection to the for-profit Teneo consulting firm of Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Board member Doug Band:

“Bill Clinton now leads a sprawling philanthropic empire like no other…It has formed partnerships with multinationals and wealthy individuals… In July 2001, the former president had established the William J. Clinton Foundation....In 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was born.

“CGI is not a traditional charity…It is a series of collaborations with corporations or individuals…CGI was the perfect vehicle for Clinton…. It placed him at the center of a matrix of the ultra-wealthy and the ultra-powerful, the kinds of people Clinton has always taken a special pleasure in surrounding himself with…

“Teneo has its headquarters on the forty-fifth floor of the former Citigroup Center tower in Midtown and employs more than 200 people in 13 cities…It describes its raison d’être as `integrated counsel for a borderless world,’ offering investment banking, restructuring advice, and `business intelligence’” on dealing with `global disruptors.’… From the beginning, Teneo resembled an outpost of Clintonland more than an independent entity. Clinton and Blair came on as paid advisers…. Nancy Hernreich Bowen, director of Oval Office operations under Clinton, works in the Hong Kong office…. A number of key Teneo clients were also closely involved with Clinton’s charitable work. One month before the Rockefeller Foundation presented Clinton with an award for philanthropy, it gave Teneo a $3.4 million contract…Other Teneo clients include the big hospital chain Tenet (which is a lead partner in the new Clinton Health Matters Initiative) and UBS Americas (which launched a Small Business Advisory Program with the foundation). (According to The New York Times, Teneo’s monthly fees can be as high as $250,000.)… In February 2012, Bill Clinton’s office announced that he would no longer take payment from the firm. The page listing an `advisory board’ headed by Clinton and Blair vanished from its website….”
(end of part 12)

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