The Republicans are on the attack against Hillary Clinton using unusual methods to tie her to "heads of state, business leaders, and actors" and alleged "conflicts of interest," business dealings of some of her staffers, and potential progressive opposition to Clinton.
The Republican Party Just Dumped A Whole Bunch Of Its Dirt On Hillary Clinton
Business Insider By Hunter Walker
The annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, an initiative of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation dedicated to addressing "global challenges," is taking place in New York this week. The Republican National Committee marked the occasion by dumping a huge opposition research file on Clinton to reporters.
Titled "Clinton Confab Complications," the research briefing declared, "As Clinton World Gathers In New York, Problems Loom Over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign." It highlighted several issues Republicans think can hurt Clinton, including her ties to "heads of state, business leaders, and actors" and alleged "conflicts of interest," business dealings of some of her staffers, and potential progressive opposition to Clinton.
The GOP has previously used some of these same attacks on Clinton. This briefing makes clear that Republicans hope the separate points will contribute to an overall narrative that Clinton is ethically compromised and overly cozy with big business. The RNC is also clearly eager to capitalize on any potential dissatisfaction with Clinton among the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
In an email to Business Insider, RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski said the GOP thought " CGI is always a good opportunity for us."
"T he Wall Street ties and her problems with that part of the Democrat Party and the baggage that comes with CGI as an organization," Kukowski said of Clinton. " This summer has solidified the fact that Hillary Clinton is out of touch with Americans between spending all of her time with millionaires and comments that she was dead broke despite million-dollar homes and book deals.
"This week the Clintons will be palling around with millionaires sticking a finger in the eye of Elizabeth Warren Democrats who already have questions about Hillary's loyalties. It's no wonder Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Martin O’Malley see an opportunity to engage these voters who are disappointed the Democrat party is trying to anoint Hillary Clinton. But it isn't just who Hillary spends her time with — it's the baggage that comes with her ties to an organization that has had a lot of financial and ethical questions surrounding it."
A spokesperson for Clinton did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Read the RNC's full briefing on the "Clinton Confab Complications" below:
As Clinton World Gathers In New York, Problems Loom Over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign
Throughout The Week, The Clintons Are Kicking Off Their 10 th Annual Clinton Global Initiative Meeting, Bringing In A Star Studded, Big-Business Audience. “Bill and Hillary Clinton are bringing together heads of state, business leaders and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon for their annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting. President Barack Obama will address the four-day conference in New York City. It begins Sept. 21 with an awards ceremony hosted by television host Seth Meyers. The former president and ex-secretary of state will address the meeting along with daughter Chelsea Clinton, the foundation’s vice chair. Those expected to attend the 10th annual meeting include King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (bah-cheh-LET'), Cisco CEO John Chambers, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.” (Ken Thomas, “Clintons Organizing 10 th Annual Global Meeting,” The Associated Press , 9/11/14)
WELCOME TO CLINTON WORLD – A PLACE OF “POLITICAL BENEFITS,” “WEALTHY CELEBRITIES,” AND “CONFLICTS OF INTEREST”
It Has Become Clear “Just How Difficult It Can Be To Disentangle The Clintons’ Charity Work From Mr. Clinton’s Moneymaking Ventures And Mrs. Clinton’s Political Future.” “And efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr. Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs. Clinton’s political future, according to interviews with more than two dozen former and current foundation employees, donors and advisers to the family.” (Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Unease At Clinton Foundation Over Finances And Ambitions,” The New York Times , 8/13/13)
The Foundation Relies On Bill Clinton’s “Global Celebrity And His Ability To Connect Corporate Executives, A-Listers And Government Officials.” “The foundation, which has 350 employees in 180 countries, remains largely powered by Mr. Clinton’s global celebrity and his ability to connect corporate executives, A-listers and government officials.” (Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Unease At Clinton Foundation Over Finances And Ambitions,” The New York Times , 8/13/13)
But This “Symbiotic Relationship” May Not Be So Fruitful For A Clinton 2016 Run
“As Hillary Clinton Considers A 2016 Presidential Bid, The Symbiotic Relationship Between Her Family And Corporate Givers Has Shareholders, Consumer Advocates And Ethics Watchdogs Wary About Conflicts Of Interest.” (Jonathan Allen and Annie Linskey, “Dow Companies Invest In Clinton—With One Holdout,” Bloomberg , 5/6/14)
Corporate Donations “Purchase Direct Access To The Clinton Family” And Multimillion-Dollar Payments From Foreign Countries During Clinton’s Tenure As Secretary Of State “Raised Conflict-Of-Interest Questions.” “Another Clinton presidency is also worth avoiding because dynastic politicians find it harder to govern accountably when they do reach office. When family and politics mix, unaccountable and untransparent sources of influence proliferate. By now, it’s old news that corporate donations to the Clinton Foundation, for all the many good works they finance, can also purchase direct access to the Clinton family—or that multimillion-dollar payments to the foundation by countries like Saudi Arabia raised conflict-of-interest questions for Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.” (Rob Goodman, “Duck This Dynasty,” Politico Magazine, 5/15/14)
Corporate Contributions To The Clinton Foundation Have Coincided With Initiatives Supported By Clinton While At The State Department. “On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing. … In 2010, two months after Boeing won its $3.7 billion Russia deal, the company announced a $900,000 contribution to the William J. Clinton Foundation intended to rebuild schools in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, “For Hillary Clinton And Boeing, A Beneficial Relationship,” The Washington Post , 4/13/14)
THE DEALINGS OF SOME OF CLINTON WORLD’S BIGGEST PLAYERS HAVE RAISED EYEBROWS
Leadership Of The Foundation Has Been “Dominated By Loyal Veterans Of The Clintons’ Political Lives.” “For most of the foundation’s existence, its leadership has been dominated by loyal veterans of the Clintons’ political lives.” (Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Unease At Clinton Foundation Over Finances And Ambitions,” The New York Times , 8/13/13)
Some Have Questioned Whether Former Aides To Both Clintons May Have Benefited Financially Based On Their Association With The Family.” “Despite the fact that the endowment campaign has been launched while no Clintons are serving in public office, it has been difficult to avoid political skirmishing. Hillary Clinton’s new perch at the foundation already has revealed potential downsides. Critics have questioned whether former aides to both Clintons may have benefited financially based on their association with the family.” (Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger, “The Clintons Launch A New Campaign — For The Foundation That Bears Their Name,” The Washington Post , 8/24/13)
The Clinton Foundation Has Become “A Sprawling Concern, Supervised By A Rotating Board Of Old Clinton Hands, Vulnerable To Distraction And Threatened By Conflicts Of Interest.” “The review echoed criticism of Mr. Clinton’s early years in the White House: For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest.” (Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Unease At Clinton Foundation Over Finances And Ambitions,” The New York Times , 8/13/13)
“The Biggest Question Among Hillary’s Circle Concerns Huma Abedin,” Longtime Aide And Current Chief Of Clinton’s “Transition Office.” “The biggest question among Hillary’s circle concerns Huma Abedin, currently chief of Hillary’s ‘transition office’ and formerly her deputy chief of staff in the State Department. Abedin began as an intern for the First Lady in 1996, when she was 20 years old, and is, of course, married to former congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, of sexting infamy.” (Joe Hagan, “Hillary In Midair,” New York Magazine, 9/22/13)
While Working In Clinton’s State Department, Abedin Was Granted Status As A “Special Government Employee” In June 2012 – An Arrangement That Allowed Her To Also Consult For Corporate Clients And The Clintons. “Ms. Abedin, 37, a confidante of Mrs. Clinton’s, was made a ‘special government employee’ in June 2012. That allowed her to continue her employment at State but also work for Teneo, a consulting firm, founded in part by a former aide to President Bill Clinton, that has a number of corporate clients, including Coca-Cola. In addition, Ms. Abedin worked privately for the Clinton Foundation and for Mrs. Clinton personally.” (Raymond Hernandez, “Questions On The Dual Role Of A Clinton Aide Persist,” The New York Times , 8/18/13)
Abedin’s Special Status Allowed Her To Serve As A Paid Consultant For The State Department, Clinton Foundation, And Doug Band’s Teneo Holdings. “The reclassification, meanwhile, allowed Abedin to bypass conflict-of-interest restrictions for federal employees – restrictions that are in place to ensure that government workers do not bring an outside financial stake to bear in their federal dealings. With the bypass, she could work as a consultant, even while still being paid by the State Department. Abedin took on three consulting roles. The Clinton Foundation hired her as a paid consultant, as did Teneo Holdings, a New York-based strategic planning and financial services firm that was cofounded by Doug Band, former chief adviser to former President Clinton. Abedin also became a paid personal assistant to Mrs. Clinton (in addition to being Clinton’s government-paid senior adviser).” (Harry Bruinius, “Huma Abedin: Were Her Consulting Jobs Proper?,” Christian Science Monitor , 8/21/13)
“‘There Is A Very High Potential For Actual Conflicts Of Interest In This Case, And There Is Certainly Every Appearance Of Conflicts Of Interest,’ Said Craig Holman Of The Ethics Watchdog Public Citizen.” (Justin Elliot and Liz Day, “State Department Finally Releases List Of ‘Special Government Employees,’” ProPublica, 1/30/14)
“In The Midst Of Her Husband’s Scandal,” Abedin Moved Back To New York And Worked For Teneo Holdings, Giving “Hillary Cover While Also Keeping Abedin Plugged In.” “In the midst of her husband’s scandal, Abedin stepped down from her full-time job for a consulting contract and moved back to New York to take work with Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm and investment bank run by Bill Clinton’s longtime consigliere, Doug Band. This gave Hillary cover while also keeping Abedin plugged in.” (Joe Hagan, “Hillary In Midair,” New York Magazine, 9/22/13)
Clinton Insider, On Abedin’s Dual Role: “It’s Business As Usual.” “‘It’s business as usual,’ says a Clinton insider. ‘Keep your circle of advisers small, and then you structure things in a way that makes it economically possible for your close advisers to sustain themselves.’” (Joe Hagan, “Hillary In Midair,” New York Magazine, 9/22/13)
Longtime Aide And Founder Of Teneo Holdings Doug Band Is The “Subject Of Considerable Angst” In Clinton World. “Band himself did not respond to an extensive list of questions for this article, but over the course of nine months, I spoke with more than three dozen people who have worked with him over the arc of his career. Inside the realm known as Clintonland, he is the subject of considerable angst.” (Alec MacGillis, “Scandal At Clinton Inc.,” The New Republic, 9/22/13)
“Band, Who Has Spent Two Decades In The Clinton World, Is A Case Study In How Treacherous It Can Be To Navigate.” (Amy Chozick, “Planet Hillary,” The New York Times , 1/24/14)
Concern Arose Over Band, “Who Had Started A Lucrative Corporate Consulting Firm — Which Mr. Clinton Joined As A Paid Adviser — While Overseeing The Clinton Global Initiative.” “And concern was rising inside and outside the organization about Douglas J. Band, a onetime personal assistant to Mr. Clinton who had started a lucrative corporate consulting firm — which Mr. Clinton joined as a paid adviser — while overseeing the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation’s glitzy annual gathering of chief executives, heads of state, and celebrities.” (Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Unease At Clinton Foundation Over Finances And Ambitions,” The New York Times , 8/13/13)
Some Worried About “The Overlap Between His Work For The Clinton Global Initiative… And His Energetic Efforts To Expand Teneo’s Client Base.” There are those who worry about the overlap between his work for the Clinton Global Initiative— which he conceived and helped run for six years—and his energetic efforts to expand Teneo’s client base.” (Alec MacGillis, “Scandal At Clinton Inc.,” The New Republic, 9/22/13)
“And There Are Those Who Worry About How Some Of The Messier Aspects Of The Charity’s Operations Could Create Trouble For Hillary Clinton, Who Has Made The Family Foundation Her Base As She Contemplates A Presidential Run.” (Alec MacGillis, “Scandal At Clinton Inc.,” The New Republic, 9/22/13)
THE CLINTONS’ TIES THAT WILL BE ON DISPLAY THIS WEEK COULD CREATE BIG PROBLEMS AMONG DEMOCRATS
“Both Clintons, Who Live In New York, Retain Deep Ties To Wall Street.” (Zachary A. Goldfarb, “The Holes In The Clinton Economic Record That Should Worry Hillary,” The Washington Post , 5/1/14)
And Despite The Growing Cries From Within Her Party, “Hillary Clinton Isn’t Backing Away From Wall Street.” “Hillary Clinton isn’t backing away from Wall Street. As cries from within her own party grow louder for the all-but-declared 2016 Democratic presidential candidate to distance herself from high finance’s titans, Clinton is continuing to address Wall Street audiences.” (Kevin Cirilli, “Clinton Not Running Away From Wall Street,” The Hill , 7/27/14)
“In 2008, The Biggest Contributors To Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Were Citigroup And Goldman Sachs.” (Zachary A. Goldfarb, “The Holes In The Clinton Economic Record That Should Worry Hillary,” The Washington Post , 5/1/14)
The Wall Street Journal Headline: “The Bill And Hillary Clinton Machine Taps Corporate Cash” (Brody Mullins, Peter Nicholas, and Rebecca Ballhaus, “The Bill And Hillary Clinton Machine Taps Corporate Cash,” The Wall Street Journal , 7/1/14)
Clinton’s Corporate Connections Are Already Creating Unease Among Liberal Democrats
“Today, The Clintons Are Millionaires Who Have Been Living The Life Of An Ex-First Family For A Decade And A Half.” (Zachary A. Goldfarb, “The Holes In The Clinton Economic Record That Should Worry Hillary,” The Washington Post , 5/1/14)
Democrats Are Pining For Clinton “To Show More Gusto” In Criticizing Wall Street And To “Get In Touch With Her Inner Elizabeth Warren.” “And some Democrats pine for Mrs. Clinton to show more gusto in criticizing the practices of financial firms. ‘Frankly, she would do well to get in touch with her inner Elizabeth Warren,’ said Jim Dean, chairman of Democracy for America, a liberal group, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who built a reputation skewering banking and credit-card industries but has said she won’t run for president in 2016.” (Brody Mullins, Peter Nicholas, and Rebecca Ballhaus, “The Bill And Hillary Clinton Machine Taps Corporate Cash,” The Wall Street Journal , 7/1/14)
“Democratic Criticism Of Clinton—And Yearning For An Alternative—Still Aren’t Hard To Find.” (Jonathan Allen, “Different Party, Different Year, Same Hillary,” Bloomberg , 9/5/14)
Charles Chamberlain, Director Of The Liberal Group Democracy For America: Clinton’s Ties And Speeches “Give The Impression That She’s Still In The Wall Street Wing Of The Party.” “‘It’s not about the pure fact that she's speaking to Wall Street,’ griped Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the liberal Democracy For America. ‘The problem is these speeches give the impression that she’s still in the Wall Street wing of the party.’” (Kevin Cirilli, “Clinton Not Running Away From Wall Street,” The Hill , 7/27/14)
“The Democratic Party That Rejected Hillary Clinton In 2008 Is Even More Distant From Her Now.” (Jonathan Allen, “Different Party, Different Year, Same Hillary,” Bloomberg , 9/5/14)
Clinton’s Party Is Now “More Leery Of Wall Street.” “The Democratic Party that rejected Hillary Clinton in 2008 is even more distant from her now. It’s more resistant to military entanglements, more leery of Wall Street and more firmly in favor of pot smoking.” (Jonathan Allen, “Different Party, Different Year, Same Hillary,” Bloomberg , 9/5/14)
Progressive Democrats Have Suggested That “Without A More Liberal Alternative To Clinton, The Party Would Splinter.” “Clayton suggested in an email from January of this year that without a more liberal alternative to Clinton, the party would splinter: ‘if we have no Progressive candidate with legitimate street cred about taking effective bold action to face the vital issues we’re confronting as a country today (which is pretty much Warren and ... cricket, cricket...) in the race for Presidency, that means the abandonment of the Democratic Party by the reemerging and resurgent Left in America.’” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)
PROGRESSIVES ARE ALREADY LINING UP TO VOICE THEIR CONCERN OVER CLINTON
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “I Worry” About The Cozy Relationship Hillary Clinton And Others Have With Wall Street. KATIE COURIC: “I’m curious if you think that Hillary Clinton is too cozy with Wall Street? …ELIZABETH WARREN: “I worry a lot about the relationship between all of them, regulators, government, and Wall Street. And here’s how I think of this—” COURIC: “What about Hillary Clinton in particular?” WARREN: “Well, I worry, across the board.” (Yahoo News’ “ Yahoo News With Katie Couric ,” 9/3/14)
Mike Lux, A Former Bill Clinton Aide: “I Also Came To Know How Close She Was To The Pro-Wall Street Forces Inside The Administration And Out…So I Will Hesitate For A Long Time Before Jumping Into Her Campaign.” “Another area of irritation is the economic policies instituted by her husband, former President Clinton, that some progressives say contributed to the financial collapse. Lux, a former Clinton administration aide, wrote in an email that while he didn’t think she was involved in crafting economic policy as first lady, he’s concerned about her relationship with Wall Street. ‘I also came to know how close she was to the pro-Wall Street forces inside the administration and out, and the downsides on foreign policy are all very real. So I will hesitate for a long time before jumping into her campaign,’ Lux wrote in a group email.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): “I Do” Have Real Questions About Where Clinton Stands On Central Economic Issues. JON KARL: “Some progressives, a little uneased with Hillary Clinton? Is she going to be too hawkish on foreign policy, is she going to be too moderate on economic issues?”SEN. TOM HARKIN: “We’re always nervous about people moving too far to the right. See, a lot of us believe the center ought to be moved back. That the center has moved too far right.” KARL: “So where’s Hillary on that?” HARKIN: “I don’t know. I think this is something that will be developed and we’ll find out when -- when and if she decides to run, you know, what's her vision for America?” KARL: “So you still have real questions about where she stands on those central issues?” SEN. HARKIN: “I do everybody. You know, again, I must be frank with you. I thought Barack Obama was a great progressive and a great populist and quite frankly, some things that has happened that I haven’t agreed with.” (ABC’s “ This Week ,” 9/14/14)
Vice President Joe Biden Even Reportedly Criticized The “Later Years Of The Clinton Administration” As The Origin Of Middle Class Economic Insecurity.“Biden did not mention his own White House ambitions. But several Democrats at the event were struck by one remark he made about Bill Clinton’s presidency: Three sources there told CNN that Biden said the fraying of middle-class economic security did not begin during President George W. Bush’s terms, but earlier, in the ‘later years of the Clinton administration.’ Biden, of course, could face off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 if they both decide to run.” (Peter Hamby, “Biden Delivers ‘Elizabeth Warren-Type Speech,’ At Fundraiser,” CNN , 5/10/14)
Newly Revealed Emails Have Exposed “Significant Dissatisfaction” With Clinton
Emails By Liberal Activists Reveal “Significant Dissatisfaction With Hillary Clinton.” “Emails sent by liberal activists and obtained by The Hill reveal significant dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)
“f Clinton Doesn’t Take Steps To Appease The Progressive Wing Of The Party, It Could Be Damaging To Her Chances In 2016.” “In interviews and emails, members of the group expressed a near-universal concern — that still prevails — that if Clinton doesn’t take steps to appease the progressive wing of the party, it could be damaging to her chances in 2016.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)
“The Critical Messages About The Former First Lady Show That She Has A Long Way To Go To Assuage Skepticism From Influential Voices On The Left.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)
If Clinton Doesn’t Appease The “Angst On The Left, ‘There’s A Danger Of Progressives Tuning Out’ If She Wins The Nomination.” “Even as Clinton is dipping her toe in the 2016 waters with a return to Iowa this past weekend, Lux told The Hill that if she doesn’t take steps to assuage some of the angst on the left, ‘there’s a danger of progressives tuning out’ if she wins the nomination.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Left Blasts Clinton In Secret Emails,” The Hill , 9/18/14)