The names of business leaders, some of whom were Clinton Foundation donors, that Hillary Clinton met with as secretary of state were left off her official government calendar.
Some of those leaders also represented businesses who have lobbied the U.S government.
The Associated Press reported the findings Friday after reviewing Clinton’s personal planning schedule sent to her aides and the official State Department record. The AP has found at least 75 instances in which details on Clinton’s planning schedule were left out of the official government record.
These meetings were with longtime Clinton political allies, donors to the Clinton Foundation, business executives and companies who were lobbying the U.S government at the time.
For example, a September 2009 event listed as “CEO breakfast discussion and New York Stock Exchange opening bell ceremony.” But the State Department calendar did not include the names of the attendees.
The attendees included Blackstone Group chairman Steven Schwarzman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, then-New York Bank of Mellon CEO Robert Kelly, chairman of Coach Inc. Lewis Frankfort, then-DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Fabrizio Freda, president of Loews Corporation James Tisch, CEO of Omnicom Group John D. Wren, then-chairman of McGraw Hill Companies Harold McGraw III, and chairman of the American Tower Group James Taiclet.
Of the 11 companies represented, nine had donated to the Clinton Foundation as of Feb. 25, 2015. Both Schwarzman and Frankfort have personally donated to the foundation. All of the firms except Coach Inc, were lobbying the U.S at the time. Blackstone, Honeywell, Omnicom and DuPont in particularly were lobbying the State Department in 2009.
“It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen,” Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan government reform group, told the AP. “These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.”
Clinton spokeswoman Nick Merrill defended the calendar discrepancies, saying they “simply reflect a more detailed version in one version as compared to another, all maintained by her staff.”
Her planning schedule was sent to her each morning unedited, while the State Department calendar was edited after each event by aides, including Huma Abedin. More than 60 events that were listed in her planner were either entirely omitted from her calendar, light with details or marked “private meetings.”
Experts told the AP that secretaries of state frequently feel freedom to control their schedule despite government warnings about federal records laws and transparency. Besides the business meetings, meetings with Clinton confidants such as Sidney Blumenthal and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty were kept off the official calendar.