Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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

International consulting firm Teneo was founded by a longtime Bill Clinton associate and two Hillary Clinton fundraisers, one of whom the former US Secretary of State now running for president appointed US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. Former US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were hired by Teneo months after its official launch in 2011, which generated world publicity attracting top firms willing to pay up to six figures a month for consultancy from a firm connected to former world leaders. Former British counterpart to Hillary Clinton, Foreign Secretary William Hague is the latest big shot to sign up with Teneo, after leaving or taking a rest from politics.

Photo credit: "Friday, July 15, 2011 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague chat during the Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul July 15, 2011. REUTERS/Osman Orsal"

"Hague, 54, who stepped down as an MP at the general election, has started work for Teneo, a New York-based corporate advisory firm whose clients include Coca-Cola, UBS and Standard Chartered," James Lyons and Tim Shipman reported for the UK's Sunday Times on May 31, 2015. "It charges clients a monthly retainer of up to $250,000 (£163,000)."

Teneo is currently being probed by GOP Congressional leaders for its communications with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her former staff members that also work on her political campaigns and media outlets on the right, left and neutral have lawsuits seeking information from the State Department. Meanwhile, the Boston Business Journal reported on June 5th, that Boston 2024 - "to support its Olympics pitch" - has "signed a contract in April with Teneo Sports, a bid presentation firm, valued at up to $1.25 [million] annually."

On May 31, in an opinion piece for The Daily Mail - bearing the headline "Are ex-MPs REALLY just in it for all they can get?" - Peter McKay complained, "William Hague was retiring at 54 to write books, we were previously told. Now we hear the former Tory leader and Foreign Secretary is joining Teneo, a big-bucks New York-based consultancy firm which has employed those highly respected ex-public servants Bill Clinton and Tony Blair."
"‘How is the public interest served by ex-ministers taking the skills and insider knowledge they gained in government and flogging them to private interest?’ wonders Tamasin Cave, of pressure group Spinwatch. Not shy of stating the obvious, Ms Cave adds: ‘There is a reason why companies hire outgoing ministers. It has become another way of buying influence.’

But is there genuine public disquiet about ex-politicians making their fortunes in retirement by ‘advising’ big companies and in some cases governments? If so, it is not mentioned by politicians themselves. A few obscure Left-wing MPs protest from time to time, but I can’t think of a single prominent politico from any major party who has made an issue out of the self-enrichment schemes of retired colleagues.

Hague has friends across the political spectrum. As a former Foreign Secretary, he has made excellent business contacts internationally. Thanks to his support for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie’s campaign against the sexual abuse of women in war zones, he has also established himself in America, where the hiring of big-name politicos by business firms is uncontroversial.
"Surely we all have a right to share the knowledge and expertise which ministers accrued in public service," McKay opines. "It must be wrong for it to be used so that companies, or foreign regimes, benefit."

It was reported in May of 2011, just after Declan Kelly quit his envoy post, that Blair and former President Clinton would join the newly launched firm, but the official announcement didn't come until June 30, 2011, as I noted in March. According to the New York State Corporation & Business Entity Database, Teneo Strategy Consulting LLC was registered on November 18, 2009, which was two months after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had appointed him US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. He has helped raise millions for her, and I also broke the news that her last foreign trip as State Secretary was to a event held in her honor by a Teneo client. Teneo CEO Declan Kelly was also on the Board of Directors for American Ireland Funds (part of the Worldwide Ireland Funds) when they held the Belfast luncheon for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012.

Two years ago, on January 29, 2013, the AFP reported, "British Foreign Secretary William Hague Monday hosted a private dinner to bid farewell to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she steps down from her post this week, officials said. The dinner was being held at the British embassy in Washington, and came amid a whirlwind of events for Clinton's last week as America's top diplomat.
"Hague on Monday joined the chorus of praise for Clinton's achievements as secretary of state, in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post in which he set out plans to seek G8 action against rape as a weapon of war.

Britain will chair the Group of Eight richest nations this year, and Hague said he would make it a 'personal priority... to secure new international action against the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.'

'In the crowded field of Secretary Clinton's achievements her work on women's rights is particularly inspirational. In this as in so many of the challenges of our time, Britain and the United States are natural allies,' he wrote.
Hogue was awarded the 2014 Hillary Clinton Prize for Women, Peace and Security on February 25, 2014 at Georgetown University, and gave a speech that thanked and praised her.
"Everyone remembers who they shared a desk with at school. Well Hillary and I shared a desk for 2½ years when I was a brand-new Foreign Secretary, at the UN Security Council and in meetings around the world where they seat nations in alphabetical order.

She would silence any room, just by walking into it. She always spoke the truth as she saw it, fearlessly. And she was fond of passing notes in class. I remember one that said ‘William, let’s get out of here and have some fun’.

Hillary, you enhanced the standing of US diplomacy in the world. You strengthened the State Department. You created new opportunities for your country, breaking fresh diplomatic ground in Asia and Africa. You are one of the world’s resolute champions of human rights, and in doing all these things and more you placed the United States in a stronger position for the 21st century. You are a remarkable stateswoman and an outstanding American, and I am glad to call you my friend.
"We both started off a bit cautiously with each other, but, much to my delight, I found him a thoughtful statesman with good sense and good humor," Hillary Clinton wrote about William Hague in her book "Hard Choices", according to Daily Mail. "He also became a good friend."
"Mrs Clinton says: 'Hague brought to his job the understanding that diplomacy is slow and often boring but absolutely necessary.' She adds: 'Hague was the David Beckham of toasting!'"
In an April interview with Absolute Radio, Hague said he had "fun" having drinks with Hillary Clinton over the years. "I always got on with her," Hague said, after selecting her alone out of all the most "personable" world leaders he has known or worked with.

The former UK Foreign Secretary has over 250,000 followers at his Twitter account @WilliamJHague. He joined Twitter in March of 2010 and his profile also notes, "Leader of the House of Commons and MP for Richmond (Yorks) 1989-2015. Co-Founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative." However, it doesn't yet mention that he began working for Teneo a few weeks ago.

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.

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 thought 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.

Last month, 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."


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

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'

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