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 " 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 was registered on November 20, 2009, and began redirecting to 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.

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