Trump blasts rival over blurred ‘Bill Clinton Inc’ lines

Republican says memo a forewarning of how Hillary Clinton may operate in White House

Donald Trump lambasted Hillary Clinton over the leaked "Bill Clinton Inc" memo that showed the money connections between the former president, his family's charitable foundation and corporate donors connected to an Irish-linked consultancy in New York.

The Republican presidential nominee referred to a memo that surfaced on Wednesday on the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in which Mr Clinton's former aide Doug Band promoted the work of his company Teneo, cofounded with Irish public relations executive Declan Kelly, in generating millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation and Mr Clinton personally.

"The more emails Wikileaks releases, the more the lines between the Clinton Foundation, the Secretary of State's office and the Clintons personal finances – they all get blurred," said Mr Trump at a rally in Ohio.

The Band memo, written in November 2011 in response to concerns about the foundation’s ties with its affiliates, refers to how Teneo raised more than $8 million for the foundation and more than $3 million in paid speeches for Mr Clinton at a time when Mrs Clinton was secretary of state. It makes no reference to her.

Foundation donors

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State Department

emails showed diplomatic officials treating contacts from donors to the Clinton Foundation and friends of the Clintons, including Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, preferentially.

Mr Trump has attacked the ties between the Clinton Foundation and his Democratic opponent in the US presidential race repeatedly during the campaign.

“Just today we read about Clinton confidant Doug Brand [sic] bragging that he had funnelled tens of millions of dollars to ‘Bill Clinton Inc’ through the foundation donations, paid speeches and consulting contracts,” the Republican nominee told his supporters in Ohio.

Under a heading detailing Mr Clinton's "for-profit activity" entitled "Bill Clinton, Inc" by Mr Band, the former president's aide and "bodyman" while he was in the White House outlined how he had helped secure more than $50 million in for-profit activity for Mr Clinton and $66 million in future contracts.

Mr Trump referred to Mr Band’s description of his role and that of Teneo in fundraising for the Clinton Foundation and Mr Clinton personally as “unorthodox” and pointed to the goal of a 2011 law firm review of the foundation’s activities to ensure that the organisation’s charitable tax status would be protected.

“If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren’t in the White House, just imagine what they will do if they are given the chance to control the Oval Office,” he said.

Cultivating clients

Mr Band said in his memo that Teneo "cultivated" clients to help secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid speeches for Mr Clinton in 2010 and 2011 – a period covering the time when Mr Kelly was Mrs Clinton's economic envoy to Northern Ireland – though Mr Band says elsewhere that Teneo was set up as a corporate entity in June 2011, a month after Mr Kelly officially resigned from the State Department.

Asked about concerns over the new revelations that the Clintons were enriching themselves through the foundation, Mrs Clinton's spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri defended the foundation's work during an interview with MSNBC and said that she did not believe voters were concerned about the controversy.

She referred to the fact that the stories were generated from the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta stolen by Russian government hackers that are aimed at influencing the election.

Teneo said in a statement: “As the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world. It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent