Chelsea Clinton’s bold decision in 2011 to launch an “internal investigation” into the finances of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative was the equivalent of a declaration of war by the first daughter and a bombshell about the financial mess she discovered at the foundation.
The latest revelation came out Tuesday in a new batch of WikiLeaks emails sent to and from Clinton confidant John Podesta, who now is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman.
Two emails — one dated Nov. 12, 2011 and another dated Jan. 4, 2012 — show Chelsea was aggressively looking into the foundation’s money flows and talking to others about it.
Her actions worried President Bill Clinton’s long-time handler Doug Band, who complained to Podesta about Chelsea’s intervention into the internal operations of the foundation.
The disclosure suggests that Chelsea was shocked by what she found inside her parent’s organization that secured millions of dollars from despots, Eastern European tycoons, Arab Sheiks and foreign billionaires — all of whom also were seeking favors from her mom and dad.
In the 2011 email, Band complained to Podesta about Chelsea’s activity within the foundation, accusing her efforts to reform the organization as the behavior of a “spoiled brat.”
But in his January 2012 email Band discloses that Chelsea, “is conducting an internal investigation of money within the foundation from cgi to the foundation.”
“CGI” is the Clinton Global Initiative where the Clintons annually assemble the world’s richest people and connect them to U.S. and foreign government officials.
Band additionally was worried to learn that Chelsea had shared her misgivings with members of the Bush family.
The Clinton aide tells Podesta in the 2012 email that Chelsea told “one of the Bush 43 kids” about the investigation adding, “I have heard more and more chatter” from Chelsea and that she is “talking about lots of what is going on internally to people.” He ends his email by stating to Podesta, “Not smart.”
It’s unclear if Chelsea discovered dirty money inside the foundation, conflicts of interest, “pay to play” deals that involved her mother, or gross financial mismanagement. She took her actions when her mother was secretary of state.
The disclosure will likely accelerate a number of congressional investigations into the foundation that have been simmering in both the House and the Senate.
The emails also are likely to put the spotlight on Band and the company he created called Teneo. Congress already has an investigation underway about whether it had undue access to the Obama administration, especially at the Department of State when Hillary was secretary .
Reportedly, Teneo was able to get its clients — many of whom also were Clinton Foundation donors — meetings with Clinton at the Department of State.
Prior to Tuesday’s email, it was clear Chelsea not only investigated her parent’s foundation, but took strong steps to try to reform it.
She was there when the foundation fired KDB, its tiny, Midwestern accounting firm. She also personally recruited McKinsey & Company friend and colleague Eric Braverman to become the new CEO. And Chelsea widened the board from a handful of Clinton insiders to a dozen while serving as its vice-chairman.
Significantly, when Pricewaterhousecoopers was hired to replace KDB — which a federal oversight board reprimanded citing many auditing ‘deficiencies” — the outside PWC review resulted in a total restatement of four years of Clinton Foundation financial statements.
However, although Chelsea is still vice-chairman of the foundation, she has taken many hits from inside it by her parent’s old cronies and they appear to have prevailed.
Only months after Braverman arrived after signing a lucrative $395,000 employment contract, he abruptly quit. Bruce Lindsey, a long-time Clinton hand who Braverman had replaced, is now back running the foundation.
It’s unclear if Braverman resigned or if he was pushed out by old Clinton loyalists.
Band and other long time Bill Clinton pals had a lot to lose with a Chelsea-led investigation.
Historically, the foundation was run by a small group of old Clinton loyalists, including long-time aide Bruce Lindsey, Terence McAuliffe, now the Democratic governor of Virginia, and Cheryl Mills, who was Hillary’s chief of staff at the State Department.
The small board violated the nonprofit world’s most elemental set of “best practices” which call upon tax exempt groups to have a strong, outside board to oversee programs.
The foundation also failed to set up strong oversight committees to review the foundation’s financial transactions, decide executive compensation, evaluate senior staff, formulate business practices, establish ethical standards and intervene to prevent conflicts of interests. The foundation had none of these.
The foundation also operated programs overseas in developing countries with weak banking laws and lax government oversight where bribes and corruption were rampant.
Band had the most to lose because he had a seat within the foundation and was CEO of Teneo a consulting firm that tried to monetize the foundation’s activities into handsome profits. Judicial Watch, the watchdog group called Teneo, “Clinton, Inc.”
Band called Teneo a “global advisory firm” which allowed him to mix foreign companies, Clinton donors and eventually some of the work with Secretary Clinton at the State Department.
Teneo also intermingled its work with the Clinton camp. Bill Clinton was a paid consultant. Huma Abedin, when she served as deputy chief of staff at the State Department also served as a paid “senior advisor” to Teneo.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the relationship between Teneo, Abedin with Clinton Foundation aides.
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