Recently released emails appear to further show a direct connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, including efforts to get foundation donors seats to an official lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
In emails dated December 2010, Clinton State Department aide Huma Abedin and then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band discussed potential guests for the lunch with the Chinese president -- including three executives from groups that had donated millions to the foundation, according to an ABC News report late Saturday.
Among the possible guests discussed were Bob McCann, then-president of wealth management at UBS; Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation president, and Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek.
The emails reviewed by ABC News were obtained by the conservative group Citizens United through a Freedom of Information Act request.
UBS Wealth Management USA contributed $500,001 to $1 million to the foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation gave $10 million to $25 million and Western Union and its foundation gave $1 million to $5 million, according to ABC News.
Nearly two weeks after the Abedin-Band exchange, Band wrote a follow-up email that specifically asked that Rodin be seated at Vice President Biden’s table. "I'll ask," Abedin replied, according to the ABC News report.
Band declined comment to ABC News.
Josh Schwerin, a Hillary for American spokesman, said Sunday that the State Department’s actions under Clinton "were always taken with the intent to advance our foreign policy interests and with no other intent in mind than that."
Schwerin also repeated what the department has previously said: that its officials are "in touch with a wide range of outside individuals, organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks" and others as part of normal business.
An he called Citizens United "a right-wing group that's been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s" that is again "trying to make something out of nothing."
A representative for McCann told ABC News he did not attend the lunch. A representative for Ersek said he doesn't have a "record" of the event. And Rodin's office did not return a request for comment.
The State Department said it could not provide a list of attendees.
The new emails follow an Associated Press report last week that found more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money -- either personally or through companies or groups -- to the Clinton Foundation. The report was based on the review of a partial list of State Department schedules that the agency provided through a court order.
Earlier this month, newly-released documents showed the State Department, shortly after Clinton left the agency, considered buying land for a U.S. Embassy in Lagos from a company with ties to Gilbert Chagoury, who donated more than $1 million to the foundation. (The story was first reported by Fox News.)
And in 2011, foundation donor Rajiv K. Fernando was put on a sensitive U.S. intelligence advisory board without having any known related experience, according to ABC News. Fernando resigned within days, amid questions about his qualifications.
Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee running against Republican nominee Donald Trump. She currently leads the race by 6 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics.com polls average.