'Pay-to-play' at Clinton State Department exposed in new emails, watchdog says
Newly disclosed emails expose fresh examples of "pay to play" at the Clinton State Department, a conservative watchdog group said Thursday.
The emails, from Clinton aide Huma Abedin's account, were among 1,600 documents turned over by the State Department in connection with Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Judicial Watch said the documents reveal Clinton Foundation friends requesting and receiving favors from the State Department.
“The emails show ‘what happened’ was that Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin obviously violated laws about the handling of classified information and turned the State Department into a pay for play tool for the corrupt Clinton Foundation,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, in a swipe at Clinton's newly released campaign memoir "What Happened." “The clear and mounting evidence of pay for play and mishandling of classified information warrant a serious criminal investigation by an independent Trump Justice Department.”
In July 2009, Zachary Schwartz, an associate for donor Steve Bing, contacted Doug Band, a Clinton Foundation official and former top aide to President Bill Clinton, requesting help on visas for Cuba for a film production crew from Bing's Shangri La Entertainment. Band forwarded the request to Abedin asking her to call Schwartz "asap." Abedin said she would. Bing reportedly donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Another instance was in September 2009, when chairman of futures brokerage firm CME Group and Clinton Foundation donor Terrence Duffy asked Clinton to help arrange “government appointments” in Singapore and Hong Kong. Clinton forwarded the request to Abedin, who said she would “follow up” with his secretary.
“Would like to get some more information and details so we can try to help,” Abedin wrote to Duffy’s secretary.
Duffy’s secretary replied, “We would also like some help in arranging meetings with some key govt officials in both locations, such as the Prime Minister of Singapore, and would appreciate any help you may be able to provide.”
Abedin responded on Sept. 29, 2009 that they were “happy to assist with any and all meetings” and that she had “discussed you and your trip with our assistant secretary of state for east Asia and pacific affairs.”
Duffy reportedly gave $4,600 to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and his company reportedly paid Clinton $225,000 for a speaking fee.
Other documents show Clinton received “proposed questions” in advance of a “Global Press Conference” in 2009 from seven foreign reporters, among other communications among Clinton, Abedin and other State Department aides.
On Feb. 12, 2010, a Clinton speechwriter, Case Button, asked Abedin if her mother would be willing to give him advice on talking points he was preparing for Clinton for her town hall meeting at Dar Al Hekma, a women’s university in Saudi Arabia. Abedin’s mother has been considered a controversial Islamist activist.
“Talk to my mom for sure. She will have good points for you,” Abedin replied.
Abedin’s mother, Saleha Abedin, offered advice for Clinton’s speechwriter: “Do not use political terms such as ‘democracy/elections/freedom.’ Do not use the term ‘empowerment of women’ instead say ‘enabling women’ Do not even mention driving for women! Don’t sound sympathetic to ‘women’s plight’ or be ‘patronizing’ as other visitors have done and made the students extremely annoyed. They rightly consider these as in-house issues.”
Clinton’s speech reportedly did not reference any of those topics.
The new documents contain classified information, and also show personal opinions of other Obama administration officials.
On a trip to Mexico in January 2011, Abedin emailed Clinton that Vice President Joe “Biden is a disaster here.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect information made available since the report was originally published on Sept. 20.