Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager Robby Mook served as an informal adviser at the State Department in early 2009, The Daily Caller can reveal for the first time.
And in that unpaid role, which came with a State.gov email account, Mook took part in the early discussions to hire political appointees for Clinton, including the information technology specialist who managed the then-secretary of state’s private email system.
Mook’s apparent participation in the hiring process of political appointees known as Schedule C hires, which is revealed in emails sent on Feb. 12, 2009 and released late last month to the watchdog group Judicial Watch, highlights the highly political nature of the Clinton State Department.
The involvement of political operatives with no foreign policy experience in the hiring of tech workers at the State Department also heightens questions over whether Clinton’s off-the-books email system was created for political purposes — perhaps, as many have suggested, to hide her private messages with donors, allies and favor-seekers.
The first email in the February 2009 chain was sent from an unknown individual to Heather Samuelson, a longtime Clinton associate who was hired at the State Department’s office of the White House liaison.
Samuelson forwarded the email to Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s under secretary for management. She also copied Mook — who is listed as “Robert E. Mook” — as well as Laura Pena and Marlon Marshall, both of whom took jobs at the White House liaison office after working on Clinton’s campaign.
“Hi Pat: Thank you again for meeting with us yesterday. It was incredibly helpful,” Samuelson wrote to Kennedy.
The email suggests that Samuelson, Mook and the other Clinton campaign alums took part in a meeting about the State Department’s political appointees. Mook did not respond on the email chain. A State Department official tells TheDC that Mook served in an unpaid, temporary role on Clinton’s transition team and received no benefits.
Pena had served as director of Hispanic outreach on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Marshall worked as director of state campaigns and political engagement. He is also close with Mook, having been a member of the so-called “Mook Mafia,” an email listserv of Democratic operatives that had its internal emails exposed in a minor scandal in 2014.
Samuelson would later gain notoriety as the attorney who was tapped by the Clinton team to decide which of her State Departments emails were work-related and which were personal. Around half of Clinton’s emails were turned over to the agency in December 2014. The other half were deleted.
As for Mook’s political resume, he worked as state director in Ohio, Indiana and Nevada on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. After she lost to Barack Obama in the primary, Mook took a job on Jeanne Shaheen’s successful New Hampshire Senate bid.
Just weeks after the February 2009 emails were sent, Mook started working as political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Campaign finance records show the DCCC cut the political wunderkind a payroll check for $8,053 on March 25.
In response to Samuelson’s email, Pena wrote to Kennedy and the others: “Also attached is Bryan Pagliano, possibly for Int’l Informational Systems.”
Kennedy passed Pagliano’s resume on to officials in State’s office of information technology asking them to find a position for the tech worker. Other emails show that the two officials — chief information technology officer Susan Swart and her deputy Charlie Wisecarver — expressed confusion about Pagliano’s hire as a Schedule C worker since nobody else in the IT division was a political appointee. Because of federal requirements regarding political appointees, Kennedy served as Pagliano’s official supervisor. But he had little day-to-day interaction with the Clinton aide and has claimed that he did not know about Clinton’s email server, including Pagliano’s work on it.
Pagliano, who had worked as IT director on Clinton’s campaign, would end up with the official title of information technology specialist within the Bureau of Information Resources Management. He started work there at the GS-15 pay grade in May 2009. After that, he worked as a contractor for the State Department.
Clinton reportedly paid Pagliano out of her own pocket to manage her private email system, which involved the use of a server that was housed in her New York home. He has reportedly received immunity from the Justice Department in exchange for his cooperation with the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s server.
It is unclear how big of a role Mook played in vetting Pagliano and other political hires. He has not previously mentioned his work on the transition team and has said little in public during the fallout stemming from Clinton’s unprecedented email practices.
The newly released emails also show that Pena appears to have been charged with keeping tabs on the Pagliano hiring process.
“Please let me know when you are ready to give Bryan his assignment at IRM, I’d like to give him a heads up and a better idea of the position,” she wrote to Kennedy on Feb. 23.