Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “disregarded ethics guidelines” to raise more than $72 million for the U.S. Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Shanghai in 2010, taking money from big-name contributors who later “received favorable treatment” from her State Department and also contributed to her namesake foundation, according to a 2015 internal Clinton research document revealed Sunday by WikiLeaks.
The 10-page portion of a vetting document prepared by Clinton’s campaign to examine her vulnerabilities before seeking the Democratic nomination for president was attached to an email examining a candidate for campaign treasurer Jose Villarreal. The March 11, 2015, email was made public after Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account was hacked and the trove posted to WikiLeaks.
Villarreal, a deputy campaign manager in 1992 for Bill Clinton’s presidential run and a bundler and adviser during Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 White House bid, was appointed by Secretary of State Clinton as Commissioner General of the U.S. World’s Fair exhibition. That Shanghai Expo, however, was awash in controversy.
“When soliciting contributions, Clinton had little consideration for ethics, as the corporations who were featured in Shanghai also contributed to her foundation and received accolades from the State Department,” the document stated.
The FBI is reportedly investigating The Clinton Foundation, although the depth and focus of that probe is unclear.
Among the other charges the vetting document highlighted:
- “Boeing contributed $2.25 million to the Shanghai Expo, while Clinton helped the company land a multi-billion [dollar] Russian deal”
- “Procter & Gamble gave $3 million to the Shanghai & Expo [sic] & Millions to The Clinton Foundation; Was repaid with Corporate Excellence Award”
- “Clinton solicited PepsiCo as one of the largest Shanghai Expo sponsors; PepsiCo committed same amount to Clinton Foundation projects”
- “Alcoa, a Shanghai Expo contributor, pleaded guilty to foreign bribery charges facilitated by a major Clinton Foundation donor”
- “Secretary Clinton was ‘Advocate-In-Chief’ for General Electric, which was one of the largest donors to the Shanghai Expo”
Each of those potential hits against Clinton appeared as a subsection in the document and was supported by numerous news clippings and quotes.
An April 1, 2015, memo from future campaign research director Tony Carrk to campaign-manager-in-waiting Robby Mook and soon-to-be communications director Jennifer Palmieri emphasized other issues with Villarreal, including a “cozy relationship with Wall Street” and problematic board memberships.
In a section on the Shanghai Expo, the document noted that Clinton “could not directly solicit funds.” However, Villarreal said Clinton’s involvement in the project was instrumental to securing funds.
“We knew how to get to the leadership of companies, and, of course, being able to suggest that this was a project that was very, very important to Secretary Clinton really, really helped in opening doors,” Villarreal told the authors of the book, “HRC.”
In a Jan. 12 email looking into a possible position for Villarreal, Mook told Podesta he wanted to wait to “formally consider” Villarreal because he worried “this vet is death by a few too many cuts…lobbyist, Walmart, Fanny Mae, PMI, and then the Expo work (which is a candidate vulnerability that’s already been written).”
Mook raised similar concerns to Podesta in the March 11 email.
“I was re-reading the self research documents and it looks like he’s snared up in the conflict of interest stuff at State…not the WORST thing in the world, but there’s a real argument here that he was at the nexus of foundation/state issues,” Mook wrote.
Villarreal was officially announced as campaign treasurer on April 12.