When Hillary Clinton was notified in the early days of her State Department tenure that a major Hispanic organization had issued a report slamming her agency for hiring too few Latinos, she expressed her dismay, but not about the issue raised in the report.
“Is our press pushing back hard?” Clinton wrote in a March 2, 2009 email to her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, after being forwarded the report, which was released by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA).
Clinton was apparently concerned at how the media would interpret the NHLA’s statement that it was “extremely disappointed in that only one Hispanic has been appointed among the 15 positions filled at the State Department to date.”
“NHLA respectfully urges the President and the Secretary of State to appoint additional well qualified Hispanics during the course of filling the 30 high level positions remaining,” the group wrote.
The report was passed up the State Department chain of command by Laura Pena, who had followed Clinton to the State Department after working as head of Hispanic outreach on her 2008 presidential campaign.
Pena, who served as a special adviser at State, made note of all of the Latinos who had been hired as Schedule C appointments. Those positions are reserved for non-career, political appointees.
The small number of Latino hires was “a very low number in comparison to other agencies,” Pena wrote.
Mills responded to Pena’s email with what appears to be a list of prospective hires. It is unclear who she named as most of the email is redacted.
She then forwarded the email chain to Clinton, who responded with her concern at how the State Department’s press shop was responding to the report.
So far in her 2016 presidential campaign Clinton has sought to portray herself as a progressive friend to the Hispanic community. She has said that she hopes to go beyond President Obama’s amnesty initiatives if she is elected office. But she has been criticized for flip-flopping on several immigration-related issues, including drivers licenses for illegal aliens. Clinton has also apologized for using the term “illegal” to refer to illegal aliens in the past.