Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to arrange Pentagon and State Department consulting contracts for her daughter’s friend, prompting concerns of federal ethics rules violations.
Clinton in 2009 arranged meetings between Jacqueline Newmyer Deal, a friend of Chelsea Clinton and head of the defense consulting group Long Term Strategy Group, with Pentagon officials that involved contracting discussions, according to emails from Clinton’s private server made public recently by the State Department. Clinton also tried to help Deal win a contract for consulting work with the State Department’s director of policy planning, according to the emails.
Deal is a close friend of Chelsea Clinton, who is vice chair of the Clinton Foundation. Emails between the two were included among the thousands recovered from a private email server used by the secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. Chelsea Clinton has described Deal as her best friend. Both Clintons attended Deal’s 2011 wedding.
Government cronyism, or the use of senior positions to help family friends, is not illegal. However, the practice appears to violate federal ethics rules that prohibit partiality, or creating the appearance of conflicts of interest.
Specifically, the Code of Federal Ethics states that government employees “shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.” Pentagon ethics guidelines also call for avoiding actions that would create even the appearance of improper behavior or conflicts of interest.