Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Joe Wilson invites Hillary Clinton to see 'Fair Game' via Sid Blumenthal

Everyone in the media seems to be mocking Sid Blumenthal's emails to Hillary Clinton from the latest batch released on Monday.

I searched for movie and found Blumenthal forwarding an October 13, 2010 email from former US Ambassador Joe Wilson inviting Hillary Clinton and Potus (ret) aka former President Bill Clinton to see the movie based on himself and his wife, Valerie Plame, "Fair Game". Wilson calls it "the film of our fight with the Bush administration."

Wilson offers the Clintons a choice of screenings to attend or suggests that he can arrange a private screening at their "home or elsewhere. Depending on the time, either Valerie or I would be delighted to attend and answer questions afterwards."

"Valerie and I think that the film tells the story of that time and are proud of it," Wilson adds. "I would be pleased to share it with you."

I reported on the Plame scandal ("Court filings shed more light on CIA leak" and "Jeff Gannon's 'Internal Government Memo' Lie" are two examples), love Naomi Watts, especially love Sean Penn, and Doug Liman's "Go" is a clever film, but this "Fair Game" was even worse than the one with Cindy Crawford and Billy Baldwin. I think the Rotten Tomatoes score of 79 is probably a partisan reaction against Bush and the lies that led to the Iraq war. It didn't even make $10,000,000 at the box office.



Friday, August 28, 2015

Banking executive who contacted Huma Abedin before taking Teneo job was also a State Dept. advisor

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is not the only person who performed work for Teneo and the State Department at the same time.

Emails finally released by Huma Abedin, the former Department of State Deputy Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton, not only confirm my stories in March (as detailed by Judicial Watch in April) about how she apparently helped coordinate two events in Ireland, while secretly working for the Clinton Foundation and consulting firm Teneo, they also reveal another sketchy relationship that I've been investigating.

"David Bossie, founder of Citizens United, said the e-mails show the 'tangled web that is the State Department, Teneo and the Clinton Foundation,'" Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger noted in Thursday's Washington Post.

The story continues, "In a July 2012 e-mail exchange, the assistant to New York banking executive Ken Miller wrote to Abedin on her State Department e-mail account, saying that Miller 'has been in talks with Teneo' and that he 'would appreciate your input on a decision he’s considering.' Over e-mail, Abedin agreed to meet Miller at New York’s Harvard Club. He ultimately accepted a job with Teneo. Miller did not respond to requests for comment."

However, either unnoticed or unreported by The Washington Post, Ken Miller was also a member of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy at the time he contacted Huma Abedin, which meant that he was also an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As this archived link from the US State Department website shows, Ken Miller was on the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy going back to at least January, 2012. Before he began working for Teneo, the State Department website stated that he was "President and CEO Ken Miller Capital LLC", but then some time in 2012 it switched to "Senior Advisor, Teneo Holdings, and President & CEO, Ken Miller Capital, LLC", and then, finally, "Senior Advisor, Teneo Holdings".

This is how the US Department of State website would have looked in January of 2013, if Ken Miller's name appeared first alphabetically [Editor's Note: I used photoshop to create this mash-up of what can be viewed at this archived link]:



Basic googling would have revealed to the Washington Post that Ken Miller's own biography on Teneo's website noted that he "acts as advisor to the US State Department through its Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy."

However, Ken Miller's name was scrubbed from the US State Department website quietly in January of 2015, just a few months before Hillary Clinton officially entered the 2016 presidential race.

According to the US Dept. of State website, "The State Department's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP) serves the U.S. Government in a solely advisory capacity by providing a forum for discussion of issues and problems in international economic policy. Committee membership consists of representatives of U.S. organizations and institutions, including from business, organized labor, environment, state and local government, academia, legal consultancies, and non-governmental organizations."

"The Committee is established under the general authority of the Secretary of State and the Department of State as set forth in Title 22 of the United States Code, in particular Section 2656 of that Title and consistent with Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C., Appendix). The Under Secretary for Management's approval of this charter constitutes a determination by the Secretary of State that the establishment and operation of the Committee are in the public’s interest in connection with performance of duties of the Department of State," the Charter of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy states.

The ACIEP Charter adds, "The Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (the Assistant Secretary) shall invite the members to serve for a period of two years or less. Vacancies may be filled as they occur. The Assistant Secretary may remove a member at any time, for any reason." After being unanimously confirmed in 2009 after President Barack Obama named him to the position, Jose W. Fernandez served until October of 2013 as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, until he resigned and was immediately hired to join the New York law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as a partner. Mr. Fernandez was also "the State Department’s principal representative in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)", which approved a controversial uranium deal with Russia during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Firm's filing updated day after news broke Hillary Clinton aide did outside consulting work

Last week, CNN reported that a "company tied to" Huma Abedin - Hillary Clinton's longtime aide - was "registered with the New York Department of State" on May 23, 2012.

"Zain Endeavors was registered 11 days before Abedin left her post as Clinton's deputy chief of staff to work instead as a consultant for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm with deep ties to the Clintons," investigative correspondent Chris Frates reported for CNN on August 19, 2005.

In addition - unnoticed or unreported by CNN - the Zain Endeavors LLC registration "file was last updated on May 17, 2013", which was the day after Maggie Haberman, John Brensnahan and Glenn Thrush broke the story for Politico that the State Department and Hillary Clinton had kept the job change secret for nearly a year.

"Huma Abedin — Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and the wife of all-but-declared New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner — spent her final months at the State Department working as a part-time consultant with the agency who at the same time was allowed to represent outside clients, POLITICO has confirmed," the article announced to the world. It was published after 4 PM EST on Thursday, May 16, 2013, which meant that anyone wanting to change the filing would have had to wait until the next day to realistically accomplish that.

"The new status made her a 'special government employee,' which was tantamount to being a consultant, according to the source, whose information was confirmed by two other staffers familiar with the matter. Multiple sources told POLITICO Abedin did work for other clients, which a friend of Abedin said totaled four, including the State Department, Hillary Clinton, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and Teneo, the firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band.

It’s the first time that Abedin’s changed status at State has been made public and comes as her husband, who resigned his Queens congressional seat amid scandal in 2011, is expected to launch a comeback mayoral campaign next week.
"
It's unknown what was changed in the filing, but it's possible that the address was changed from the Weiners' Manhattan condo to the registered agent's, in order to make it more difficult to tie it to Abedin, which could further distract from her husband's mayoral campaign.

Also, on May 16, Abedin and Weiner shot the first campaign ad for his unsuccessful mayoral campaign.

On April 23, 2013, Weiner revealed to Michael Barbaro at the New York Times that he "embark[ed] on a new career after he left Congress on June 16, 2011", and "[o]n July 7, he quietly incorporated a new firm, Woolf Weiner Associates, named for his great-grandfather, an Austrian immigrant to the Lower East Side." However, Weiner didn't say anything about his wife possibly having her own consulting firm, as well.

Some of Weiner's consulting gigs were to firms tied to the Clintons, as the Times noted. In May of 2013, I exclusively linked one of former New York Democratic Congressman Weiner's private consulting clients to former President Bill Clinton.

"There is nothing illegal about a private citizen creating a company, nor is it unprecedented for someone who is self-employed to form an LLC to provide them with legal protections and tax benefits," Frates reported for CNN. "But the timing is noteworthy because some conservative lawmakers and outside groups have questioned whether Abedin's consulting work for the State Department and private organizations created a conflict of interest."

DEVELOPING...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Washington Post reports Senator's accusations against Clinton aide, but doesn't name Rockefeller Foundation

8/15 update: One of Huma Abedin's attorneys "communicated directly with Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state using her personal email address"; State Dept. sources claimed Miguel "Rodriguez emerged as a behind-the-scenes point person" on Benghazi scandal when classified hearings were held; recently added to 'Super PAC' "seeking eight-figure checks" for 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign

Huma Abedin being represented by two different high-powered law firms using attorneys with long ties to Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama; Rockefeller Foundation has paid Teneo at least $9 million since 2011; In January of 2012, Hillary Clinton named charity's president to State Department council at the same time former President Bill Clinton was paid adviser to Teneo


An article published late Friday night by the Washington Post about a top Hillary Clinton aide allegedly being overpaid by the State Department refers to a charity that donated to the Clinton Foundation and has paid Teneo - a consulting firm co-founded by Clinton colleagues - millions of dollars, but doesn't name it.

"State Department investigators concluded this year that Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest aides, was overpaid by nearly $10,000 because of violations of rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure as an official in the department," Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig reported for the Washington Post. "The finding — which Abedin has formally contested — emerged publicly Friday after Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and others seeking more information about an investigation into possible 'criminal' conduct by Abedin concerning her pay."

Forgetting that Huma Abedin also worked for Hillary Clinton personally, Grassley wrote Kerry on Thursday, "At one time, Ms. Abedin held three positions simultaneously - as an SGE for the Department of State, as an employee of Teneo, and as an employee of the Clinton Foundation. During her time at the Department, Ms. Abedin allegedly sent or received on her government email account approximately 7,300 emails that involved Mr. Douglas Band, President of Teneo. These are among the documents the Judiciary Committee requested two years ago, but the State Department has failed to provide. Likewise, the Associated Press has requested similar information since August 2013."

"In one email exchange, Mr. Band allegedly emailed Ms. Abedin to request that she reach out to then-Secretary Clinton to encourage President Obama to appoint Ms. Judith Rodin to a White House position," Grassley continues. "At the time, Ms. Rodin was a client of Teneo and President of the Rockefeller Foundation which donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, a fact which Mr. Band allegedly noted in his email to Ms. Abedin. Ms. Abedin allegedly forwarded this email from her official email to her non-government email address located on Secretary Clinton's non-government server. This is but one of several troubling allegations of Ms. Abedin being solicited for and delivering favors for preferred individuals."

A footnote in Grassley's letter links to a September 2013 Rockefeller Foundation blog article that announced, "The Rockefeller Foundation was proud to make our $100 million commitment to resilient cities at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative. Judith Rodin was joined onstage by New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and our partners Swiss Re, Palantir, World Bank Group, American Institute of Architects, and Architecture for Humanity, to advance our vision for global urban resilience."

In his Thursday letter to Abedin and her lawyers at two different firms, Grassley complained, "On June 13, 2013, the Judiciary Committee asked that you provide, among other things, all documents and communications between the Department of State and Teneo, and any client or entities they represent. You did not provide the requested documents in your response on July 5, 2013. Since then, the Judiciary Committee has received additional allegations that further inform the original request. The Committee has learned of allegations that, during your simultaneous employment by the Department of Stete, Teneo, and the Clinton Foundation, you were solicited for and delivered favors for preferred individuals."

"For example, while employed by the Department of State, you allegedly sent or received approximately 7,300 emails on your official Department of State address that involved Mr. Douglas Band, President of Teneo," Grassley continued. "In one email exchange, Mr. Band allegedly emailed you to request that you reach out to then-Secretary Clinton to encourage President Obama to appoint Ms. Judith Rodin to a White House position. "At the time, Ms. Rodin was a client of Teneo and President of the Rockefeller Foundation, a large donor to the Clinton Foundation, a fact which Mr. Band allegedly noted in his email. In addition, you allegedly forwarded this email and others to your non-government account ending in @ clintonemail.com. As a result, investigators were unable to review any subsequent emails on the chain, as they were shielded from the Department's records systems on Secretary Clinton's non-government server."

Even though their article links to both of Senator Grassley's letters naming the Rockefeller Foundation and its president (and The Washington Post even hosts the letters on its website without retractions), Hamburger, Helderman and Leonnig don't specifically cite either. This might be in reaction to the controversy surrounding the false story that The New York Times published last week about a non-existent "criminal referral" against Hillary Clinton, since Grassley doesn't provide proof or explain how he learned of this alleged email.

"In one instance, Grassley wrote, Band allegedly e-mailed Abedin to request her help in landing a White House appointment for a friend who led a charity that later hired his firm and donated to the Clinton Foundation," the paper reports. "However, Grassley did not release the e-mail in question, nor did he allege any wrongdoing by Abedin. And the timeline of events does not clearly support an allegation of conflict of interest: The Band friend was named to a White House panel in 2010, before her charity hired Teneo and before Teneo hired Abedin."
"Band did not respond to requests for comment. Dunn, Abedin’s attorney, said: 'We are unaware of this e-mail and Senator Grassley has not shared it with us or the media. But every piece of this letter has issues with accuracy and we have no reason to believe this is an exception.'"
Last week, an attorney for a watchdog group who has been - so far, fruitlessly - pursuing Abedin's emails through F.O.I.A. requests was unable to tell me the name of any of her lawyers, but The Washington Post article refers to one: Karen Dunn. However, the top Washington Post investigative reporters don't provide any background on Dunn or name her firm, even though she has extensive ties to Hillary Clinton and the White House.

"Former White House associate counsel Karen Dunn last week joined Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP as a partner, part of a push by the New York-based litigation giant to enhance its Washington presence," Mary Jacoby reported for Main Justice in February 2014. "Dunn has been a communications director for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton; a law clerk to Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to Justice Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court; a deputy to chief strategist David Axelrod on the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, associate in the Obama White House counsel’s office, and most recently an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia."

Jacoby also noted that "[i]n Washington, Dunn will work with partner Heather King, another former Senate aide to Hillary Clinton."

In January of 2014, Politico's Maggie Haberman listed Karen Dunn as one of "Hillary Clinton's 50 influentials."

"After making a name for herself as an assistant US attorney and debate adviser to high-profile politicians like President Barack Obama, Karen Dunn helped Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP defend Apple Inc. in $351 million trial, making her one of five attorneys chosen for Law360’s list of Competition Rising Stars," Allissa Wickham wrote for Law360 in March, in an article that mentioned various clients Dunn was defending, but didn't mention Huma Abedin. "Currently, Dunn said she's representing Beats in a case with Monster LLC, and will be teaming up with Isaacson again in September for a trial on behalf of Oracle Corp. She's also playing a major role in a pending D.C. Circuit case over budget autonomy for the district, representing the D.C. Council pro bono."

Critics may wonder if Abedin is bearing the full cost of such a high-powered, expensive law firm or if the legal services are being provided pro bono.

Grassley's letter was also addressed to another attorney from another D.C. firm: Miguel Rodriguez from Bryan Cave LLC.

As his bio states, "Immediately prior to joining the firm, Rodriguez served as an Assistant to President and Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. In this role, he served as President Obama’s primary liaison to the United States Congress, working to advance the administration’s legislative agenda and promote its policy priorities. Among his responsibilities, Rodriguez oversaw the confirmation of the President’s Cabinet and other prominent nominees requiring the advice and consent of the Senate, including the Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor."

"Prior to his appointment as Director, Rodriguez served as a Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs," the bio adds. "In this capacity, he was the White House’s primary point of contact for four standing Senate committees (the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committees), and three Appropriations subcommittees."

Huma Abedin's second attorney from a second firm also has ties to 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: "From 2005 to 2009, Rodriguez was Chief Counsel for then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, serving as the Senator’s Legislative Director from 2008 until 2009. In these roles, Rodriguez worked with the Senator to formulate her policy agenda and led her legislative team in developing and implementing policy priorities."

As I reported in March, "According to the foundation's website, Teneo received $3,447,150 as part of the Centennial Fund "[i]n support of a project, in connection with the Rockefeller Foundation's centennial in 2013, to build capacity, create new coalitions, strengthen existing networks, and advance public policy by convening gatherings and providing multimedia tools and resources for identifying challenges and proposing tangible solutions to global problems." The terms of the grant are listed as 6/1/2011 – 3/31/2012."

Back on December 5, 2011, Neil W. McCabe - in a Human Events article - wrote, "Teneo landed its first major client June 1, when the Rockefeller Foundation gave Teneo a $3,447,150, six-month contract to help plan the foundation’s 2013 centennial."

"The foundation is another member of the Clinton’s extended family," McCabe added. "It gave Clinton its Lifetime Innovation Achievement Award July 27 and the foundation is listed as a between $1 to $5 million contributor to the William J. Clinton Foundation, along with several members of the Rockefeller family who are listed as individual contributors."

An IRS form 990-PF (pdf link) shows that Teneo Strategy Consulting was the highest paid independent contractor for the Rockefeller Foundation in 2012, earning $5,731,639.

The 2011 annual report for the Rockefeller Foundation (pdf link) also shows $350,000 was given to the Clinton Global Initiative "toward the costs of its 2011 annual conference, designed to catalyze a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to global challenges such as energy and climate change, poverty alleviation, global health, and education", and $594,960 to the Clinton Health Access Initiative, "for use by its Rwanda Country Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Rwanda, to upgrade District Health Strengthening Tool software and provide regional training and support for the local-level integration of new eHealth technologies country-wide."

The Rockefeller Foundation gave "[t]hanks especially to Andy Maas, Max Dworin, and. Michael Coakley," who all worked for Teneo in 2011. "Andy Maas drove the bus, Max Dworin kept us on the road and Michael Coakley made sure we had fuel in the tank," the centennial book "Beyond Freedom" (pdf link) states. "Tom Shea provided commentary. Working with this team has been a pleasure."

Still at the firm, Managing Director Andy Maas - according to his Teneo biography - was "managing director of global corporate communications for FTI Consulting" where he worked with Declan Kelly. Michael Coakley - as his Teneo bio states - "is a Vice President at Teneo Strategy where he advises organizations on business strategy, operational issues and reputational challenges." While, according to his LinkedIn resume, Max Dworin worked as an intern for the office of Bill Clinton from June to August of 2010, then began consulting for Teneo in June of 2011, before being promoted to associate in 2013, and then left Teneo to become New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer's Deputy Press Secretary in December of 2013, and then his Press Secretary in April of 2014. "Max Dworin, A&S '11, a consultant with Teneo Strategy, spearheaded a project in 2013 in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City called the Art of Philanthropy," John Hopkins Magazine states. "The foundation developed a crowdsourced art piece in celebration of the accomplishments of philanthropy in the U.S. and abroad."

"Prior to joining Teneo, Mr. Shea served as Chief of Staff to Jon S. Corzine, both during Mr. Corzine’s tenure as a United States Senator and member of the Foreign Relations Committee and as Governor of New Jersey," Managing Director Tom Shea's Teneo bio states. "Mr. Shea also served in several capacities at the White House, most notably as a Special Assistant to President William J. Clinton."

Shea's original Teneo biography noted, "Before joining Mr. Corzine, Mr. Shea managed the United States Department of State's New York Foreign Press Center (FPC), and served as Director of Communications and Spokesman for the United States Mission to the United Nations. In that capacity, he was responsible for explaining U.S. policy pursued at the world body to both the media and the general public, and coordinated the Mission's media activities related to its participation in the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council."

8/4 Updates

Due to the Wall Street Journal's firewall, I didn't realize that they ran a story one half-hour before The Washington Post on Friday night.

"Mr. Grassley’s letter cited 'potential criminal conduct,' but the issue apparently never became a criminal matter because a subsequent letter written in May by Ms. Abedin’s lawyers to a State Department agency indicates the government asked her to refund the disputed amount," Devlin Barrett and Peter Nicholas reported for the Journal, with Byron Tau and Victoria McGrane contributing.

The story adds, "According to a May letter to the department from Miguel Rodriguez, another lawyer for Ms. Abedin, she worked such long hours, even when out of the office, that she clearly wasn’t overpaid. Ms. Abedin was known to frequently work 16- or 20-hour days, and in an average month sent about 1,592 emails, the letter said. In January and February of 2012, when she was home with her baby, she sent about 1,000 emails, Mr. Rodriguez said."

A July 31 Wall Street Journal blog post adds, "Mr. Grassley’s office said Friday it did not have a copy of that email, and the letter does not cite a date when the email was allegedly sent or forwarded. The Clinton campaign referred comment on these matters to Ms. Abedin’s attorneys."

"The White House in 2010 appointed Ms. Rodin to the White House Council for Community Solutions, a panel charged with getting citizens, non-profits, businesses and government to work together on local problems. It’s not clear if the appointment was related to the position Mr. Band allegedly sought for her.

A spokesperson for the Rockefeller Foundation declined to comment.
"
CNN reported on August 1, "'Ms. Abedin often worked seven days a week and around the clock for the Secretary and the Department. Given these facts not in dispute, there is no basis for the OIG (Office of Inspector General) to conclude that Ms. Abedin must refund her salary earned during those periods, as if she had not worked at all," Miguel Rodriguez, one of Abedin's lawyers with the firm Bryan Cave, wrote the Office of the Comptroller back in May after Abedin was informed of the request to repay the government."
"In particular, there are two periods of time the report looked at, according to Abedin's attorneys: an overseas vacation in August 2011 -- during which Abedin was working, her lawyers say -- and an almost three-month maternity leave after she gave birth in December 2011. Her lawyers wrote that Abedin was 'working as she went into labor and returning to her duties shortly after (her son's) birth.'

Her lawyers told the government there was no effort at the time to calculate the amount of time she worked during those periods.

'Huma Abedin is widely known as one of the hardest working and most dedicated public servants over the nearly two decades she served. The IG's report is fundamentally flawed, including contradicting its own conclusion by proving that Huma worked hard even while on maternity leave,' Karen Dunn, one of Abedin's attorneys with the firm Boies, Schiller and Flexner, told CNN.

'No hardworking, dedicated public servant should be subjected to irresponsible allegations based on a fundamentally flawed report and the State Department has undertaken a review of the report. Huma has been nothing but cooperative in helping the Department work through its record keeping issues, and she will continue to do so in the hope the right thing is done,' Dunn added.
"
Rodgriguez also told CNN: "There is no criminal investigation and never has been. To say otherwise is just patently false and needlessly inflammatory."

"The State Department inspector general has determined that Huma Abedin, the close confidant of Hillary Rodham Clinton, must return more than $9,000 for alleged overpayments made to her during her time working for the department when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, according to her lawyer and Senate documents," Mikayla Bouchard blogged for The New York Times on August 1.

I guess it shouldn't be unexpected that a week after The New York Times gets into trouble for not specifically quoting a government document that they'd again paraphrase an alleged inspectors generals action. What exactly does "has determined" and "must return" mean and what are the consequences?

"The inspector general directed Ms. Abedin to refund the government $9,857.73, according to a letter released Saturday by her lawyer, Karen L. Dunn, who said Ms. Abedin will challenge the finding. Her lawyers criticized the inquiry for 'holes in its methodology' and 'unsupported allegations,'" Bouchard added.

"Huma has been nothing but cooperative in helping the department work through its record-keeping issues, and she will continue to do so in the hope the right thing is done," Dunn absurdly tells The New York Times, considering the fact that the State Department has been allegedly unable to fulfill F.O.I.A. requests or respond to lawsuits and a congressional committee seeking Abedin's emails because she sometimes used the private Clinton server.

The Times blog added, "John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said in an email, 'We are in receipt of Senator Grassley’s letter and will respond to it accordingly.'"

On August 3, Sarah Westwood noted at The Washington Examiner that "Abedin has drawn fire for the SGE arrangement that gave her heavy influence over Hillary Clinton's schedule and travel while allowing her to serve as a senior adviser at Teneo. Critics have said the personnel rule was quietly bent to permit Abedin to collect her government paycheck while wielding her influence to the benefit of her other employers."

Westwood then referenced her article based on my exclusive reporting, "For example, Hillary Clinton jetted to Ireland with Abedin at her side for her last official trip as secretary, during which she attended an event hosted by a major Clinton Foundation donor that had been promoted by Teneo."

Abedin's lawyers certainly did get a lot of space to respond in all the articles, while the campaign itself and the government have stayed silent.

Some of the unasked - and so, of course, unanswered - questions in all the stories include: How long has 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton known that the vice chairwoman for her campaign was under some kind of investigation for allegedly being overpaid by the government? Why wasn't the media or public told about this? Are the two law firms charging full rate? Who is paying for Abedin's legal fees? Wouldn't it have been cheaper for Huma Abedin to return the money to the government than to pay for her attorneys' work on this particular dispute since at least May? Is it prudent to prolong the controversy during a presidential campaign?

8/6 update

As noted above, according to IRS filings, the Rockefeller Foundation paid Teneo over $9 million from June 1, 2011 until the end of 2012. It also contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation and gave Bill Clinton a lifetime achievement award in July of 2011.

On January 24, 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted "the first meeting of the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership at the State Department in Washington, D.C."

"Secretary Clinton selected a distinguished, diverse, and international membership for the Council, representing a wide range of expertise and backgrounds, including leaders of American and foreign, public and private sector organizations," the Office of the Spokesperson for the State Department announced on January 20, 2012. "Secretary Clinton will serve as the Council’s Chair. The Council’s members are listed below; each will serve a two-year term."

Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation - who was paying Teneo millions of dollars at the time - was hand-selected by Hillary Clinton to serve as a Council Member on the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, was also a Council Member.

Hillary's husband, former President Bill Clinton was still a paid adviser to Teneo, at the time. It wasn't until February 19, 2012, that Politico's Maggie Haberman reported that "Bill Clinton has changed his relationship with Teneo Capital, the financial consulting firm co-founded by his longtime aide for which he had served as a paid adviser."
"But his paid work has ended, spokesman Matt McKenna said, and Clinton is now 'a friend and an unpaid adviser to Teneo and its founders.' The former president will be a client of the firm, and it will help work on the Clinton Global Initiative.

'His advisory board role at Teneo transitioned at the end of 2011, when he asked the company to represent him going forward in a personal capacity,' said McKenna, referring to a recent event aimed at drawing investment to Ireland.

'Declan Kelly, one of Teneo's founders, was instrumental in setting up the recent Irish investment forum and working with President Clinton to bring American companies to the table. In addition to representing President Clinton personally, Teneo will continue to work on a pro bono basis to expand participation in the Clinton Global Initiative and support for the Clinton Foundation's activities around the world.'
"
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife - the founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women - was named Vice Chair of the International Council on Women's Business Leadership by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At that time, Tony Blair was also a paid adviser to Teneo, but it's unknown if he ever changed his arrangement like former Bill Clinton allegedly did some time in early 2012.

Judith Rodin is married to Paul Verkuil, an Obama appointee in 2009, who was confirmed by the Senate to the Administrative Conference of the United States on March 3, 2010. He is behind the controversial "midnight rules" project.

On April 14, 2010, Hillary Clinton announced the creation of the Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, to be funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in a public-private partnership with the State Department, and Judith Rodin spoke at press conference with her.

"Now, it is a privilege to have Dr. Judith Rodin here with me to launch this project," Hillary Clinton said. "Judith is a friend, an inspiration, and a leader in many fields."
""Now, we hope to receive entries that describe how specific innovations have improved the lives of women and girls and proposals for how they can be scaled up and applied more broadly. These entries will be reviewed by an eminent panel of jurors, chaired by Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues Melanne Verveer, and Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. The panel will recommend the first two recipients of the award in 2010, both of whom will receive up to a $500,000 grant to fund their programs."
Judith Rodin responded, "Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton. Let me start by just saying how delighted the Rockefeller Foundation is to provide funding for this wonderful new award, the Secretary’s Innovation Award for Women and Girls’ Empowerment. And thank you, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Verveer, for your long-term, longstanding leadership and, I must say, perseverance in keeping this issue at the forefront of public awareness."

On September 21, 2012 - when Hillary Clinton's longtime aide Huma Abedin was secretly working for Teneo and the Clinton Foundation, while still being employed by the State Department - Philanthropy.com reported, "More than 150 leaders in philanthropy and finance gathered at the White House on Thursday for a private meeting on 'innovation in philanthropy' that featured Jean Case, chief executive of the Case Foundation, as a keynote speaker."

"Administration officials who attended the forum were Valerie B. Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, and Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation," the article continued. "Other philanthropic leaders at the event included Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Emmett Carson, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and Paul Shoemaker, executive connector at Social Venture Partners Seattle."

8/15 update

On August 14, Anita Kumar and Corinne Kennedy reported for McClatchy, "Some 90 people, including lobbyists for foreign governments, lawmakers, top Obama aides and State Department employees, communicated directly with Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state using her personal email address, according to a McClatchy review of thousands of her recently released emails."

"Many people said they were surprised when it was revealed in the spring that Clinton relied on a private email account on a private server in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home to conduct official business during her four years as Obama’s secretary of state," Kumar and Kennedy wrote. "But the review of emails shows influential people in Washington and around the globe not only knew she used a personal account, but corresponded with her on that personal account."

One of those "influential" people happens to be one of Huma Abedin's current lawyers, the McClatchy reporters failed to note, when reporting that some of Clinton's email exchanges involved "significant policy issues she faced as secretary of state."
"Michael Fuchs, special adviser to the secretary of state for strategic dialogues, corresponded with her in November 2009 about whether Britain lost more soldiers in the Falklands than in Afghanistan. Miguel Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary for Senate affairs, wrote that same month about the Senate moving one step closer to passing the Affordable Care Act, saying the latest 'vote was followed by brief applause.'"
Clinton's private email address can be seen on the following screenshot, and Huma Abedin was also a participant in the November 2009 discussion.



While that exchange occurred from November 20 to November 21, 2009, Rodriguez evidently already had Clinton's personal email address. On November 8, 2009, Rodriguez sent Clinton and Abedin "the list of those 39 Democrats [in the House] who voted against the H.3962 (The Affordable Health Care For America Act)."

As the McClatchy reporters noted, former State Secretary Clinton's "use of a private system has become the focus of multiple inquiries by the FBI, a pair of inspectors general and Congress, prompting questions about her judgment and motive for actions that potentially led to national security risks."

"While he was part of Clinton’s team, Rodriguez caught the attention of [Rob Nabors, a White House deputy chief of staff and Rodriguez’s predecessor as chief liaison to Congress], who recruited him into Obama’s orbit," Philip Rucker reported for The Washington Post on November 3, 2013. "In October 2011, Rodriguez joined the legislative affairs shop, where he handled mostly foreign affairs and national security issues. That included the administration’s dealings with Congress surrounding last September’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya."
"Once the attack piqued the interests of lawmakers, there were dozens of hearings, some of them classified. Senators and representatives had reports to review and questions they wanted answered about Benghazi. With the integrity and reputations of both Obama and Clinton on the line, Rodriguez emerged as a behind-the-scenes point person, colleagues said.

'Miguel was not just in the thick of it; he was at the forefront of it,' Reines said. 'It was just an around-the-clock effort, and we leaned on Miguel as if he never left State.'
"
If Huma Abedin or Hillary Clinton passed on any classified information to Rodriguez in any other unreleased emails through the private server, it's conceivable that the attorney could become a part of an FBI investigation.

On July 31, Maggie Haberman at the New York Times reported that Rodriguez was added to the board of a 'Super PAC' supporting Hillary Clinton.

"Priorities USA, which has experienced upheaval at times over the last two years, is now seeking eight-figure checks to help bolster Mrs. Clinton in response to a flood of money pouring into Republican outside groups," Haberman reported.
"Priorities is also expanding its board, adding the veteran fund-raiser Brian Wolff and Miguel Rodriguez, a former legislative director to Mr. Obama.

'Brian and Miguel are two of the most well-known and well-respected leaders in politics and we are thrilled to have them join our growing team of supporters,' Mr. Cecil said in a statement Friday.
"

Monday, July 27, 2015

Inspector General request would further delay release of Hillary Clinton emails

Both The New York Times and Gawker not only published erroneous articles with bogus headlines concerning Inspectors General memos to the State Department related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails, they also seem to have missed a recommendation which could be interpreted by critics as yet another governmental roadblock to fulfilling dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests by the media and watchdog groups.

"It is unclear if the Department of Justice is reviewing the emails before FOIA release," an OIG memo from June 15 states. "Former-Secretary Clinton's emails are the subject of numerous FOIA requests and multiple FOIA lawsuits. It may be prudent to integrate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process review to ensure the redactions can withstand legal challenges. If not already being done, recommend the State Department FOIA Office incorporate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process to ensure the legal sufficiency review of the FOIA exemptions and redactions."

As the Times reported, "a federal judge sharply questioned State Department lawyers at a hearing in Washington about why they had not responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from The Associated Press, some of which were four years old."
"“I want to find out what’s been going on over there — I should say, what’s not been going on over there,” said Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court, according to a transcript obtained by Politico. The judge said that “for reasons known only to itself,” the State Department “has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.”"
In an editorial published by Daily Caller, Micah Morrison - the Chief Investigative Reporter for the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch - asks, "Is FOIA reform finally at the tipping point? The federal Freedom of Information Act was designed to give citizens prompt access to information about their government. Instead, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, a vast black hole of years-long delays and heavily censored documents."

"In recent weeks, a trifecta of powerful federal judges, each acting independently, has blasted the Obama Administration’s FOIA delays," Morrison observes, before opining, "It is never good to anger a federal judge. Angering three over the same issue is unprecedented."
"It may take fed up federal judges to lead the charge on FOIA reform. Mrs. Clinton’s stonewalling aside, the problems with FOIA are obvious. FOIA offices, housed within every government department or agency, are underfunded and understaffed. FOIA personnel get no respect from their colleagues. FOIA rules on what not to disclose are routinely abused by bureaucrats with something to hide or simply no desire to cooperate with the law. The system is in ruins.

At a Congressional FOIA hearing last month, noted the Washington Post, House Oversight Committee witnesses 'delivered a powerful verdict that federal agencies do a terrible job of responding to document requests — across the board, just about all the time.'
"
Adding another government agency into the process would logically result in further delayed release of the emails, which critics complain is being done purposely to protect Hillary Clinton as she runs for president.

After publication, Judicial Watch's Micah Morrison linked to this article, tweeting, "New HRC email referrals fracas could result in FURTHER document release delays, as @ronbryn notes here." In the evening, Politico's Jeff Gernstein reported, "Transparency advocates say the procedures the inspectors general recommended for handling the release of Clinton’s email have the potential to slow to a complete stop the already glacial Freedom of Information Act process."
"'This is a recipe for paralysis,' said Steven Aftergood, a classified information expert with the Federation of American Scientists. 'Their recommendation essentially is to give more reviewers a veto over disclosure. They not only want to bring in intelligence community reviewers, but also Justice Department officials.'

'By adding on layers of review, and the corresponding ability to block disclosure, the IGs' approach would ensure that the least possible amount of information gets released,' Aftergood added.
"
Patrice McDermott of Openthegovernment.org told Gernstein that the recommendation to use DOJ on all redacted FOIA responses "to ensure [they] can withstand legal challenges" was "ridiculous", adding, "It would grind government to a halt and it would grind DOJ to a halt as well. ... It’s absurd."

The Politico story added, "McDermott said the recommendations seemed to be a roundabout way of the intelligence community saying it doesn’t trust the State Department to make classification decisions. 'This is them saying you don’t recognize highly classified information when you see it if it’s not marked,' she said. 'Those are entirely separate issues from the FOIA process.'"

However, responses to the OIG request indicate the Department of Justice is already involved in the review of Clinton's emails.

On June 25, Patrick F. Kennedy - the under secretary of state for management - replied, "the Department finds the issues raised by the ICIG are either already addressed in current processes or are inconsistent with interagency practices. Further, the recommendations provided by the ICIG would add to the FOIA review process schedule and make it more difficult to meet the U.S. District Court order for rolling productions without meaningfully enhancing the review process."

In an attachment, the memo added, "Emails with Department of Justice equities (including those of its component entities) are forwarded to the relevant DOJ entities for review. Legal sufficiency review of the FOIA exemptions and redactions are conducted by attorneys from the Office of the Legal Adviser; they consult regularly with the Department of Justice's Federal Programs Branch regarding FOIA issues and litigation, including litigation involving the former Secretary's emails. This type of process is common throughout the interagency."

On July 14, another memo sent by Kennedy argued that "as noted previously, Department attorneys consult regulary with the Department of Justice's Federal Programs Branch on legal issues that arise in the context of the FOIA and FOIA litigation. This practice is longstanding and continues with respect to this review; L attorneys met with attorneys from Federal Programs on Monday of this week."

The New York Times article by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo originally published on July 23, 2015 was full of so many mistakes that it probably merits its own internal probe, but one of the corrections added afterwards seems to blame "senior government officials" for the paper's misreporting.

"An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials," a New York Times correction added to the article on July 25 stated, after the paper falsely reported the 2016 presidential candidate was facing a "criminal referral" by two Inspectors Generals. "It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton."

A second New York Times correction to the same article on July 26 added, "An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a 'security referral,' pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a 'criminal referral.'"

Unlike the New York Times, the Gawker article by Sam Biddle doesn't contain any self-corrections, just a note that the Times corrected its story, but the headline still inaccurately suggests that the Inspectors General recommended a "criminal investigation."

[Editor's Note: Sam Biddle blocked me on Twitter in December of 2012 because I criticized his reporting on a teenage hacker he apparently befriended. The hacker had been convicted for SWATtings and other computer crimes, then reportedly broke his plea deal, but Biddle argued in his defense with no evidence. Michael S. Schimdt has ignored multiple tweets I've sent him regarding an article he wrote for The New York Times in March, which I believe wrongly reported that the Clinton aide who set up the private server currently works for Teneo. Judicial Watch and Micah Morrison have highlighted much of my reporting on Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, and Teneo (see: Teneo and the Clinton machine).]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Year before launch, Clintons-linked firm worked on failed US World Cup bid

IRS filing reveals Teneo earned $75K fundraising while lobbying Fifa officials with ex-President Clinton in 2010

In its latest press release, Teneo - a PR firm co-founded by two former Hillary Clinton fundraisers, including CEO Declan Kelly who she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, and former President Bill Clinton's "body man", Doug Band - claims that it "is a global advisory firm founded in 2011 by Declan Kelly, Doug Band and Paul Keary with a vision to create a new breed of advisory firm focused on working exclusively with the leaders of major corporations to help them address a wide range of business and reputational issues and opportunities."

However, Teneo's first paying gig was actually in 2010, while Kelly was still working for the State Department.

"The BBC has learnt New York-based Teneo Holdings has been retained in the wake of the criminal investigation launched into football's world governing body by the US Department of Justice in May," BBC Radio 5 Live Sports News Correspondent Richard Conway reported today. "The company's president is Doug Band, who served as a director on the US 2022 World Cup bid committee."

Conway notes, "Band, together with Fifa executive committee member Sunil Gulati and others, made the final World Cup bid presentation to high-ranking officials in Zurich in 2010."

On April 8, 2010 a US Soccer press release announced, "Counselor to President Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, has formally accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its effort to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022."
"Band has worked alongside President Clinton for more than 14 years, serving a variety of roles dating back to Clinton’s time in the White House. He has served as President Clinton's chief adviser since 2002, counseling him and serving as the key architect of Clinton's post-Presidency. He created and built the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that to date has raised $57 billion for 1,700 philanthropic initiatives around the world spanning climate change, global health, citizen service, education and the empowerment of women and girls, which in total impacts more than 200 million people in 170 countries.

'Doug has spent most of his professional career working with President Clinton on topics that range from international and domestic policy to global philanthropic and environmental issues,' said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. 'His vast experience and multi-national contacts, along with his passion for the game of soccer will be key assets to the bid as he travels the world alongside President Clinton in the months to come.'
"
The 2010 press release added, "All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments on December 2, 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process."

According to an IRS filing (pdf link; page 28) by the USA Bid Committee Inc. that appears to have been submitted on May 13, 2011, Teneo Strategy Consulting raised $1,392,500 through phone and email solicitations and earned $75,000 for its work in 2010. "Teneo Strategy Consulting was engaged to provide phone and email solicitations," the filing states on page 30. On page 8, listed second between Chairman Sunil Gulati and Vice Chairman Carlos Cordeiro, Honorary Chairman William Clinton is named as only one of three officers for the USA bid committee.

One month after the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with former US President Bill Clinton, in a May 2010 visit to the White House, Foreign Policy's P.J. Aroon reported on June 24, 2010, "Clinton, who was president when the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994 and women’s World Cup in 1999, was in Africa primarily to lobby FIFA’s executive committee on the U.S. bid for 2018 or 2022, though his trip includes visits to Malawi and Tanzania to check up on Clinton Foundation projects."

According to his website biography, Teneo Strategy Senior Vice President Michael Coakley "has been an advisor on a number of sports-related engagements including the United States bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Qatar’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games." However, his LinkedIn resume claims that he didn't work for the firm until 2011.

As his biography notes, Doug Band also "was part of the negotiation team that handled all aspects of Hillary Clinton’s becoming Secretary of State." Although it states that he "served...in 2010 on the Board of Directors of the United States Bid Committee for the World Cup," the Teneo website doesn't note that they were paid for this service.

"Teneo is believed to have been hired by Fifa following advice from Quinn Emanuel, the American law firm working on its behalf," the BBC reported today. "It's understood the firm's links with senior politicians and with the US Department of Justice were a motivating factor for Fifa's choice as it seeks to mitigate the legal and financial threats facing it."
"The indictment from the DoJ in May led to the arrest and detention of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives on charges of 'rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted' corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The DoJ insists its investigations are only just beginning.
"
The BBC added, "Teneo's links with the upper echelons of US politics are well established."

At least two partners at the San Francisco based law firm Quinn Emanuel worked for the Clinton Administration: Michael Lyle was "the Director of the White House Office of Administration in the Clinton Administration" and Stephen Neuwirth served as "Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton from 1993-1996." Quinn Emanuel's Susan Estrich - who was 1998 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis' campaign manager - wrote a 2004 book called "The Case for Hillary Clinton" and endorsed her 2008 POTUS campaign.

Also, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service gave Quinn Emanuel a $2.5 million contract to advise an IRS audit of Microsoft, which has drawn controvery. "Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee" charged, "The IRS’s hiring of a private contractor to conduct an examination of a taxpayer raises concerns because the action: 1) appears to violate federal law and the express will of the Congress; 2) removes taxpayer protections by allowing the performance of inherently governmental functions by private contractors; and 3) calls into question the IRS’s use of its limited resources," as Reuters reported last month.

On May 27, a Teneo consultant was quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding Qatar, who beat out the United States for the 2022 World Cup bid.
"'There are lots of foreign firms working on the projects, but essentially the investment is all coming from the Qatari government,' Crispin Hawes, managing director of research firm Teneo Intelligence in London, said by phone.

In the U.S. investigation, the immediate 'procedural, legal, logical implications are very limited for Qatar, at the simplest level,' he said. Still, 'If there is an additional investigation that is specifically targeting 2022 or 2018 awards, then it’s not going to die down.'
"
On his Twitter account, the BBC's Richard Conway also notes, "Teneo recently bought Blue Rubicon – a pr firm that has worked closely with the Qatar 2022 World Cup supreme committee for a number of years." (More on that acquisition can be read in my last article).

Late Thursday, Simon Evans at Reuters reported, "The [US] bid lost out to Qatar in a vote of FIFA executive committee members that is now one subject of U.S. and Swiss investigations."

Sunil Gulati's relationship with Bill Clinton and Doug Band may cause a distraction for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

"Congress turned its attention to world soccer for several hours Wednesday afternoon as a Senate subcommittee convened a hearing to examine what the United States Soccer Federation had known about widespread corruption within FIFA, the sport’s global governing body," Rebecca R. Ruiz reported for The New York Times on July 15. "But one of the senators’ most persistent lines of inquiry was simpler: why had U.S. Soccer’s top official, Sunil Gulati, declined to show up?"

The NY Times article claims that Gulati drew "ire" for not appearing. "Asked repeatedly why he had been sent to testify rather than Mr. Gulati, who sits on FIFA’s governing executive committee and has long associations with several of the indicted officials, [Daniel Flynn, chief executive and secretary general of U.S. Soccer] said it was at the advice of an outside lawyer, and because he had greater familiarity with U.S. Soccer’s daily operations than Mr. Gulati does."
"Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, said that U.S. Soccer should have acted on its discomfort.

'There had to be either willful ignorance or blatant incompetence,' he said, noting that he hoped U.S. Soccer would conduct an internal inquiry on top of complying with investigations by the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
"
At the hearing, Senator Blumenthal also blasted FIFA sponsors such as Coca-Cola as "enablers". Coca-Cola is also a Teneo client and has given generous donations to the Clinton Foundation.

"Both FIFA and the Qatari Supreme Legacy and Development Committee have donated to the Clinton Foundation," Travis Waldron reported for the Huffington Post. "FIFA gave between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the foundation’s documents, while the Qatari committee donated between $250,000 and $500,000."

In an April 30 article covering my reporting on Teneo, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch's Micah Morrison wrote, "Brynaert pays close attention to the timelines. Kelly served as U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland from September 2009 to May 2011. Brynaert asks, 'When exactly was Teneo founded? If Declan Kelly helped found the firm while he was also envoy, that might complicate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign even more.'"
"The official line from Teneo is that it was founded in 2011. But Brynaert reports that Teneo appears to have been registered as a business as early as 2009. 'According to the New York State Corporation & Business Entity Database,' Brynaert writes, 'Teneo Strategy Consulting LLC was registered on November 18, 2009, which was two months after Declan Kelly was appointed to the No. Ireland envoy post.' Brynaert notes as well that the website www.TeneoStrategyConsulting.com was registered on November 20, 2009, and began redirecting to www.TeneoHoldings.com on September 30, 2011."
The IRS filing by the USA Bid Committee Inc. submitted on May 13, 2011 according to its electronic stamp came after an April request for an extension to file. This was two days after then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's May 11, 2011 statement regarding Kelly's resignation as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.

"A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state," Luke Rosiak and Micah Morrison reported for the Washington Examiner on July 30, 2014.

On June 11, 2011, "the State Department approved a consulting agreement [(pdf link)] between Bill Clinton and a controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band."

The consulting work that Band, Clinton and Teneo provided the US World Cup bid apparently wasn't approved by the State Department, since it transpired a year before it was even contacted about Teneo.

Friday, July 10, 2015

PR firm that briefly hired jilted Clinton aide after Weinergate scandal will now represent Facebook

In 2012, less than a year after her husband resigned from Congress after being caught lying about leaked explicit private messages by falsely claiming his Facebook account was hacked, Huma Abedin was hired by international PR firm Teneo while still working for then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Teneo was co-founded by two former Hillary Clinton fundraisers - including CEO Declan Kelly who she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland - and former President Bill Clinton's "body man", Doug Band. And, now, three years later, the global advisory firm will take on online social networking service Facebook as a client.

Despite its close ties to both Clintons, and the fact that its founders helped raise millions of dollars for 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the past, Teneo's "rapid" expansion across the UK is being overlooked by the US press. Multiple media organizations - including the Associated Press and Gawker - have sued the State Department for stalling investigative reports by providing insufficient FOIA responses, but the reporters covering Hillary Clinton's campaign have mostly ignored Teneo and barely ask her questions about it. Last month, I reported that Teneo hired the former British counterpart to Hillary Clinton, former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. Even though Clinton and Hague are friends, and her State Department worked with him, the news was mostly unreported in America.

"Teneo Holdings today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Blue Rubicon and StockWell, two of the UK's leading strategic communications and reputation management firms," a press release stated yesterday "The acquisitions of the two businesses, in addition to Teneo's existing UK operations, will create one of the largest strategic communications practices in the European market. It will also augment Teneo's operations in other parts of the world. All members of the Blue Rubicon and StockWell senior management team will continue as part of the Teneo leadership team. Terms of the transactions have not been disclosed."
"Blue Rubicon, widely regarded as one of the most progressive strategic communications consultancies to have emerged in London in the last 20 years, provides senior counsel to some of the world's largest companies as they navigate high-stake issues including succession planning, corporate restructuring, re-launches and post-M&A integration. Founded 15 years ago the firm has been led by Senior Partner, Fraser Hardie, CEO, Gordon Tempest-Hay, Partners Chris Jones and Fiona Joyce. Blue Rubicon today employs more than 225 people operating globally from offices in London, Doha, Dubai and Singapore.

StockWell was founded in 2010 and is led by its three Managing Partners: Tim Burt; Philip Gawith and Richard Holloway. The firm is headquartered in London and has 30 staff. StockWell specializes in providing boardroom level strategic communications advice to leading corporations and individuals across the UK, Europe and beyond.
"
In the press release, Chairman and CEO Declan Kelly states, "The acquisition of Blue Rubicon and StockWell is a transformational moment for Teneo as we continue to grow across the globe, building on our reputation as one of the world's leading advisory firms. Teneo is fortunate to advise many of the world's most senior business leaders on a daily basis. This requires us to be able to provide the highest-level strategic counsel at all times. Today's acquisitions will help us to enhance Teneo's offering even further in this regard."

"Blue Rubicon gives Teneo an expanded communications team with more than 225 employees across four offices — in London, Doha, Dubai, and Singapore — and a client roster that includes Facebook, Lloyds Bank, Mondelez, Unilever, and British supermarket chain Tesco," Fortune's Tom Huddleston, Jr. reported yesterday. "StockWell, meanwhile, has a staff of nearly 30 people and a list of clients that includes French telecom giant Orange and Vivendi."

The article added, "Blue Rubicon also works with Coca-Cola, which is also part of Teneo’s client list — a roster that includes Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, Dow Chemical, and British bank Standard Chartered. Teneo’s recently landed a role advising Britain’s Willis Group Holdings on its $18 billion merger with U.S. consulting firm Towers Watson."

"So far this year, Teneo has advised clients on communications and investor relations for 10 different M&A deals worth a total of over $60 billion," and it "has grown rapidly from a 20-person team to one with more than 275 employees across 12 offices around the world," Huddleston noted.

According to its website, other Blue Rubicon clients include HSBC, Vevo, Instagram, McDonalds, Prudential, Samsung, Western Union and ebay.

"The former Congressman switched his Facebook account from Anthony.Weiner to AnthonyDWeiner in November of 2010, and only left one message there afterward, on the same day he stopped posting at his new account, three days after the 'Weinergate' scandal publicly began on May 27, 2011," as I reported in 2012.

"We are having a big 'going out of business' sale on this page," Weiner wrote on November 24, 2010. "But we have double coupons and huge discounts on a far better site. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/AnthonyDWeiner. ill be posting there. so this one may get a little dusty."

According to reports - and one of my sources who sexted with Weiner - the old account was used by Weiner in 2011 strictly to speak to his female admirers (it's possible Weiner used his older account to speak to other people, but none have come forward). My source told me that she never exchanged any communications with Weiner on his newer Facebook account which contains his middle initial "D". Also, he ignored her pleas to contact her after the scandal broke out.

Weiner abandoned both accounts on May 30, 2011, but he only left a message referring to his hacking at his older account, which appears to have been unnoticed by the press.

"Hello friends," Weiner wrote on May 30, 2011 in his first message at his old Facebook account in six months. "I know this page has been dry for a while, but if you've gotten any odd emails, chats or notices from here recently, drop me a note. And thanks for supporting me over at our fully jazzed page linked above."

Since the message was left before he admitted to sexting a week later, Weiner - perhaps - was thinking of pretending that the older account had been hacked.

In January of 2012, I asked Facebook a number of questions regarding both of Weiner's accounts and its policies - in general - when someone claims to be hacked. On May 28, 2011, Ginger Adams Otis at The New York Post reported, "'Anthony's accounts on both Facebook and Twitter were hacked,' said spokesman Dave Arnold," and "Weiner, who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn, got a message about a week ago from Facebook alerting him that his password might have been tampered with, Arnold said. But the warning was ignored, granting the hacker carte blanche to hijack Weiner's online identity."
Is there any way I can confirm that Rep. Weiner and/or his office received such a message from Facebook in the last week or two of May? I'm curious why if this wasn't true no one from Facebook denied it.

Were any hacking investigations launched after Weiner's claims hit the airwaves?

Did Weiner contact Facebook to probe or vice versa after Weiner's spokesman mentioned the hacking?

Did the Secret Service or FBI or any other law enforcement agencies contact Facebook to probe the claim before or after the news hit the press?

If there was such a probe, has it ended or is it ongoing?

What does Facebook normally do when a celebrity claims that their account was hacked? I would assume it would be a black eye for the company, and you would want to ensure that the claim was true. Have there been circumstances when you probed such a claim and found no proof of it?

Would Facebook ever consider taking legal or criminal action when a false hacking claim is made?

Approximately how many confirmed Facebook hackings occurred in 2010. How many reported? Does Facebook keep track of such events (obviously, I'm assuming you do)?
"Thanks for your inquiry," a manager from Facebook's Public Policy Communications sent me an email by iPhone - months later - on May 13. "We'll decline to comment."

After two years of investigating longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's concurrent work at Teneo while still working for the former Secretary of State, a top Republican senator accused the State Department of erecting a "stone wall" to evade his questions. In his June 13, 2013 request to the State Department, Senator Chuck Grassley sought "all documents and/or communications between the Department of State and Teneo, and any client or entities they represent," which would have to include Bill Clinton, since along with being a paid adviser and an unpaid adviser for the firm, he was also a Teneo client, as I noted in March. Almost immediately after his resignation, disgraced Democratic NY Rep. Anthony Weiner also reportedly landed consulting gigs through Bill Clinton.

Huma Abedin was still in charge of helping to arrange former State Secretary's Hillary Clinton's schedule and worked for Teneo when both attended the December 2012 Belfast luncheon. In April, I reported that a September 2012 Teneo brochure touted Abedin as 'Senior Leadership' for the firm to clients, and her specific job title was listed as a 'Senior Advisor', even though the media and public didn't know she worked for both at the time. Longtime Clintons aide Justin Cooper - who registered the www.Clintonemail.com domain that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin secretly used to send and receive emails instead of official State Department accounts - was featured on the same page.

"Teneo's highly experienced and dedicated professions come from diverse backgrounds including investment banking, private equity, corporate finance and strategy, government, government affairs, communications, investor relations, media, and public policy," the brochure states.

In May, conservative-leaning watchdog Judicial Watch posted an article about my Teneo reporting. "Reporter Ron Brynaert is one example of this new breed of investigative gunslinger," Micah Morrison wrote. "A former executive editor for Raw Story, Brynaert has been digging deep into the Teneo connection and publishing his findings at his blog, '-gate news' and on Twitter."

At The Washington Examiner, Sarah Westwood wrote, "Reporter Ron Brynaert first noted the connection between Teneo and the Ireland Funds on his blog, -gate News."

"A longtime Clinton aide, Abedin reportedly advised Clinton on her schedule and travel as deputy chief of staff — raising questions about whether she played a role in steering the secretary of state to an event in which her other employer was involved," Westwood reported, based on my articles, adding, "State Department officials did not return a request for comment" and "Teneo did not return a request for comment on its involvement with the Ireland Funds."

DEVELOPING...MORE TO COME...

See my previous stories for more information on the links between Teneo and the Clintons:

Controversial consulting firm linked to Clintons hires another former political big shot

2012 Teneo brochure touted Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin as Senior Adviser for firm

Questions linger about Clintons-linked firm co-founded by former US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland

Staff employed by State Dept. as administrative support for Clinton envoy helped launch Teneo

Teneo worked on Belfast event honoring Hillary Clinton

State Secretary's last dinner in Dublin hosted by Clinton Foundation donor

Is Weiner planning to try and win back his old Congress seat?

State Dept. spokesman fielded question about Hillary Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff after Huma Abedin 'quietly' left position

Anthony Weiner company led by former board director for firm investors blasted as 'CROOKS'