Emails released Friday show former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials discussing how to go about helping a powerful Democratic senator who was asking for a job for his daughter in the agency in summer 2009.
The pressure paid off for the now-retired Iowa senator, Tom Harkin, as his daughter Jennifer was hired on as the assistant to the ambassador-at-large at the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. The gig was in a small office that had a “limited number of slots,” another Clinton aide wrote in a separate email chain from 2009 published on Friday.
“Remind me to discuss with you how I want to play this out,” Mills wrote to Clinton on Sept. 5, 2009 after receiving an update from Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary for management at State.
Clinton responded the next day: “We have to discuss soon so I can close the loop on this.”
That exchange was the culmination of what appears to be weeks of pestering from Harkin, who left office this January after five terms in the Senate.
On Aug. 17, 2009, Clinton’s special assistant, Lauren Jiloty, sent an email with the subject line, “Tom Harkin” to Mills and other Clinton aides, Huma Abedin and Heather Samuelson.
“[Redacted] has a call into the Secretary about his daughter, [redacted] and the status of her pending employment at the State Department,” the email reads, seemingly referring to the Harkins.
“[Redacted] has been in touch with Heather, but Senator [redacted] called today to raise this to the Secretary’s level.”
Two hours later, Samuelson responded saying that Jennifer Harkin was interested in working with Stephen Rapp, the head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice.
“The office is very small with a limited number of slots,” Samuelson wrote, adding that “she has been in contact with Stephen directly about the possibility of working for him, and he seems favorable about bringing her on board.”
Rapp, a Democrat, is a former Iowa state representative.
Despite the limited number of positions at the Office of War Crimes Issues, which coordinates with the U.S. government and other nations to oversee war crimes tribunals, Harkin was hired for the job and worked there from 2010 to 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Speaking perhaps to Mills’ desire to “play…out” Harkin’s hiring, there does not appear to have been an official announcement about the appointment. Nor are there any news articles mentioning the hire.
Other emails show that Sen. Harkin reached out to Clinton several more times to secure the job for his daughter. He called Clinton on Aug. 24, 2009, and twice on Aug. 31, 2009.
On Sept. 4, 2009, Patrick Kennedy sent an email to Mills, stating that “As you know [redacted] has been working through the ways to a identify a slot in S/WCI for [redacted].”
S/WCI refers to the Office of War Crimes Issues.
Jennifer Harkin’s name is redacted in all emails except for one Clinton sent to Mills. It appears that the State Department intended to redact Harkin’s name but overlooked it in that single email.
While it is unlikely that Harkin or Clinton broke any laws, the arrangement appears to be an obvious case of political favoritism. Clinton’s presidential campaign has been stymied in the early going amid accusations that she and husband Bill have traded political access for donations to their personal charity, the Clinton Foundation.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did the Clinton campaign. The Harkins could not be reached for comment.
Harkin has always been a good ally for Democrats seeking high office. Besides being popular with labor unions, Harkin holds considerable sway in his home state, which is host to the first primary contest each election cycle. Harkin has also hosted a popular steak fry fundraiser nearly every year since 1972 which many presidential candidates have used as a platform to unofficially kick off their Iowa campaigning. In September, the Clintons headlined the event, which was Harkin’s last before his retirement.
Other emails in Friday’s trove indicate that the politically-connected pressed Clinton and other State Department officials for jobs for their relatives. But is unclear whether that pressure was as effective as it was for Harkin. The other emails are redacted of identifying information.
On July 17, 2009, Margaret Carpenter, who was then an official at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a sub-agency of the State Department, wrote to Mills about a conversation she had with an unnamed person’s sister-in-law.
“I told her that there might be possibilities at USAID and MCC,” Carpenter wrote. MCC is the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a small federal agency that is closely aligned with the State Department and USAID.
“I asked her to look at the USAID and MCC websites and let me know what might be of interest. Is there something I don’t know about her background that might make it easier to imagine where she’d fit?”
Mills forwarded Carpenter’s email to Clinton with the note “fyi.”
The wife of former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair also pitched Clinton directly on behalf of a relative seeking a job.
In an April 4, 2009, email thread, the Blair’s son, Nicholas, forwarded an email to his mother from a person whose name is redacted. Cherie Blair in turn forwarded the resume to Clinton with the note “Further info about [redacted]!”
The day before, Blair sent a heavily-redacted email to Clinton. Clinton responded, “I have passed on the info about [redacted] to my chief of staff. We will follow up. All the best.”
Blair wrote back, “thank you so much.”