Clinton-linked firm touted ability to ‘secure’ funds from Irish charity
American Ireland Fund rejects claim that former trustee could direct charity’s money
Teneo cofounder Declan Kelly (second from left) with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: details of firm’s connections with the Clintons were revealed in emails leaked by Wikileaks
Teneo, the New York consultancy firm cofounded by Irish executive Declan Kelly, promoted his ability to “secure” money from the American Ireland Fund (AIF) for the Clinton Foundation, it has been claimed in a leaked email.
Details of the consultancy firm’s connections with the Clintons were revealed in a memo that surfaced in the latest tranche of leaked emails belonging to John Podesta, campaign chairman for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that appeared on the anti-secrecy website, Wikileaks.
The ongoing leaked emails have unveiled new insights into the dispute dating back to November 2011 between Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the Democratic candidate, and Doug Band, a cofounder of Teneo, over her concerns that the firm was “hustling business” at the Clinton Foundation’s charitable events.
The dispute led to a review of whether Teneo’s commercial interests were becoming too mixed up with the foundation, Mr Clinton’s activities and his for-profit business.
Mr Band sent a memo to Mr Podesta, who was trying to mediate in his dispute with Ms Clinton, to clarify his and Teneo’s past role in fundraising for the Clinton charity. The document highlights how Mr Kelly had directed funds both to the foundation and encouraged Teneo’s high-profile corporate clients to pay the former US president millions of dollars for paid speeches and offer the use of a private plane.
The November 16th, 2011 memo was prepared for two lawyers at New York law firm Simpson Thacher, which carried out a review of the Clinton Foundation and its relationship with affiliates. It was copied to Mr Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Mr Podesta and two Clinton Foundation board members.
The memo – under one heading “Leveraging Teneo for the Foundation” – outlines how Mr Kelly and Mr Band encouraged Teneo’s clients to contribute to the foundation. It references millions of dollars in past donations to the foundation and fees to Mr Clinton for speeches paid by Teneo clients including the Coca-Cola Company, the Dow Chemical Company, Swiss bank UBS and telecom firm Ericsson.
Mr Band says in the memo that Mr Kelly, a trustee of the American Ireland Fund, a charity set up for Irish causes,“urged and ensured” that the fund was “a significant donor to the foundation.”
“Mr Kelly has successfully secured $350,000 to date,” he wrote. “Mr Kelly also will continue giving in the coming years as well through the AIF.”
The memo notes that Mr Kelly introduced Bob McCann, head of UBS Wealth Management, to Mr Clinton at an American Ireland Fund event in 2009 and that Mr Kelly later asked Mr McCann to support the foundation and invited Mr Clinton to give paid speeches worth $900,000 in fees to the former president.
A spokesperson for the fund said that the charity supported the Clinton Foundation because of the former president’s central role in the Northern Ireland peace process, his ongoing involvement in Northern Ireland and his support for continued investment in Ireland following the economic crash.
On Mr Kelly’s involvement in the fund’s grants to the Clinton Foundation, the spokesperson said: “No individual determines where our grants go. Every single grant is subject to the approval of our board.”
Mr Kelly has not been involved in the American Ireland Fund since 2014 when he lost out to New York hotelier John Fitzpatrick in a highly charged race to become chairman of the philanthropic organisation.
The fund has donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to the Clinton charity’s records.