With just two weeks between Hillary Clinton and what polls suggest will be a comfortable victory on Election Day came another reminder that nothing comes easily for Clinton, Wikileaks' release of a memo unlocking how Bill Clinton monetized his post-presidency.
The memo, which Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called “the smoking gun,” gives an unvarnished look at the kind of actions that galvanized populist movements against Clinton on both the left and right this year. It was included as part of the purported emails allegedly stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's account which WikiLeaks has been releasing over the past weeks.
And Republicans, aware of Clinton’s likely victory on November 8, have made it clear they plan to bog down a potential second Clinton administration in endless congressional investigations.
“Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the GOP-controlled House’s top investigative committee, told the Washington Post. Chaffetz Wednesday night announced he would support Trump, even though he had publicly renounced the the GOP nominee earlier this month.
The 2011 memo spells out in explicit terms how Doug Band, one of Bill Clinton’s closest post-presidential aides, used a company he created to generate business for himself, donations for the Clinton Foundation, and lucrative speaking and consulting gigs for Bill Clinton — a for-profit entity he dubs “Bill Clinton, Inc.”
The Clinton campaign has refused to authenticate any documents in the hack. NBC News has not authenticated any of the alleged e-mails.
However, in a statement to NBC News, Teneo acknowledged the existence of the memo.
“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. It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so,” a company spokesperson told NBC News.
Band wrote the 13-page memo to defend himself from internal questions about his overlapping roles as a personal aide to the former president, a top Foundation official, and the founder and president of Teneo, a consulting firm he stated with another Clinton ally.
“Given concerns that have been expressed about the role of Teneo in the Foundation’s and the President’s activities,” Band wrote. “I wanted to take this opportunity to share information and help clarify my activities on behalf of the President – both on behalf of non-profit Foundation activities and the management of the his for-profit business opportunities.”
According to the communiques, Chelsea Clinton and others inside Bill Clinton’s orbit had become concerned about how Band was leveraging his ties to the former president to drum up business for Teneo, of which Clinton served as “honorary chair.”
Band was ultimately pushed out of the inner circle as Chelsea’s faction tried to clean up the various entities connected to her father.
Hillary Clinton is not directly implicated, as she was serving as secretary of state at the time and not involved in the Foundation.
However, Clinton’s State Department Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, is one of those addressed by the memo in her capacity as member of the Clinton Foundation board. Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest aides then and now, received compensation from Teneo as a consultant while also finishing her time at State.
Over 13 pages, Band lays out in striking details how he helped facilitate arrangements with Teneo’s clients — multinational corporations like Coca-Cola Company, UBS, and Dow Chemical Company — to enrich Bill Clinton and support his charitable enterprises.
“To date, Teneo partners have raised in excess of $8 million for the Foundation,” Band wrote. “Teneo partners also have generated over $3 million in paid speeches for President Clinton.”
Band also touts that he helped facilitate “in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like” from Teneo clients and others.
Band makes the hard sell about his value in the memo, addressed to Bill and Chelsea Clinton, along with John Podesta (the chair of Clinton’s campaign, whose emails were hacked), Terry MacAulliffe, Mills, and Bruce Lindsey, who all served on the Clinton Foundation board.
Band grew frustrated by Chelsea Clinton’s efforts to push him out, writing to Podesta in another hacked email, “I don’t deserve this from her and deserve a tad more respect.”
In the memo, Band makes clear that he received no salary for much of his work on behalf of Clinton, with the implication that any money he made from Teneo was justified compensation.
But more than Band’s role, the memo will likely remain a political artifact for how it details Bill Clinton’s willingness to accept business opportunities for himself.
For instance, it details how Band’s partner, Declan Kelly, “asked UBS to offer President Clinton paid speeches.” Band also says he personally “negotiated a fee for President Clinton of $1 million dollars to speak for two one-hour sessions in Hong Kong” to mobile phone maker Ericson, noting that he also “negotiated additional coverage of the cost of a private plane.”