Before and after Dennis Cheng served as one of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign fundraising directors, he worked under her as deputy chief of protocol at the State Department as well as chief fundraiser at the Clinton Foundation. Now, Citizens United wants to know if all of those jobs, especially the State Department gig, carried the same responsibilities.
The conservative watchdog group filed suit against the State Department in federal court on Monday for emails and other records from Dennis Cheng, the national finance director for Clinton’s presidential campaign who served as deputy chief of protocol while she was at the State Department.
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuits also seeks records for Cheng’s boss, Capricia Marshall.
“We want to know what were their job duties, what were they doing, who were they communicating with,” Citizens United president David Bossie told The Daily Caller of the lawsuit, which seeks correspondence Cheng and Marshall had with anyone at the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm with close ties to the Clintons.
The suit also seeks Cheng’s emails with other Clinton aides, including former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, her top foreign policy adviser at the State Department.
Both Cheng and Marshall have worked for the Clintons for years in various capacities. Marshall served as an aide to both of the Clintons during their White House tenure. She served as a policy adviser to Bill Clinton after he left office and then joined Hillary Clinton’s 2006 Senate re-election bid.
Cheng worked on that campaign as well before serving as chief of New York fundraising on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Marshall worked on that failed effort, too.
Both joined the State Department in the summer of 2009, which Marshall serving as Cheng’s boss.
But Citizens United is focusing heavily on Cheng, largely due to his unique position at the epicenter of the Clintons’ financial affairs.
After leaving the State Department in 2011, Cheng joined the Clinton Foundation as its chief development officer. In that role, which The New York Times described as a “dry run” for Clinton’s 2016 presidential run, Cheng raised $248 million for the charity.
As Clinton’s top money man, Cheng has overseen an effort that has raked in nearly $160 million since the beginning of her campaign.
“He was a fundraiser, then he’s inside the State Department, then at the foundation, then a fundraiser,” Bossie said of Cheng’s career. “The question is, did his job ever change? Or was he always dealing with donors and donor maintenance.”
Bossie also asserts that “it’s no coincidence” that Cheng worked under Marshall at the State Department.
There are almost no emails sent to or from Cheng in the records Clinton gave to the State Department in Dec. 2014.
But he does make an appearance in State Department emails obtained last year by Judicial Watch, another conservative watchdog group. One Jan. 2013 exchange shows that Clinton aide Lona Valmora forwarded a copy of Clinton’s schedule to a group of non-government employees, including Cheng, who was then at the Clinton Foundation.
The email raises the obvious question of why Cheng and other non-governmental employees were made privy to Clinton’s State Department schedule.