Emails show foundation shaped Clinton’s policy
May have unethically favored family business
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails reveal how prominently the Clinton Foundation factored into her thinking as America’s top diplomat, raising questions about where she drew the line between official business and aiding the family charity run by her husband and daughter.
In one instance, Mrs. Clinton appeared to try to steer a Haiti earthquake recovery project to the foundation, according to new emails released this week as the State Department belatedly complies with open records requests for her communications during her four years in office.
Another email shows Mrs. Clinton directing a State Department employee to handle solicitation of money from Norway for a program she was about to announce in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010, and which was being run by the United Nations Foundation, another nonprofit created by Ted Turner that has close ties to her family’s operation.
The State Department last week released more than 4,300 emails Mrs. Clinton sent from an account she kept on an email server at her home in New York during her time in office. The release, the fourth and largest batch so far, has drawn scrutiny chiefly for the amount of nowclassified information, which was in nearly 3 percent of her messages.
But the emails are also giving a clearer picture of how she handled her job and, in particular, her role as top diplomat, married to a former president who had interests of his own.
In one message, Chelsea Clinton, who was on the ground in Haiti, sent both of her parents her thoughts about U.S. government policy and her father’s role in the rebuild.
At the time, former President Bill Clinton was the U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti for recovery and reconstruction needs.
In another exchange, Mrs. Clinton praised an idea to set up schools in Haiti, developed by David Domenici, longtime domestic partner to top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who was her chief of staff at the department.
Ms. Mills, who served as a member of the Clinton Foundation’s board of directors before and after her stint at the State Department under Mrs. Clinton, forwarded the ideas to Mrs. Clinton, who responded enthusiastically.
“Great ideas (no surprise). Let’s work toward solid proposal maybe to Red Cross and Clinton Foundation since they have unencumbered $,” Mrs. Clinton wrote.
The Clinton Foundation didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday on the emails or on what became of the proposal. Records show the foundation would become a major player in the relief and reconstruction efforts, raising more than $30 million.
The emails have become a major political problem for Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nomination.
The Republican National Committee said the real contents of Mrs. Clinton’s emails could be even more damaging.
“But because Clinton deleted more than 30,000 emails and then had her server wiped, we may never fully know the true extent to which she jeopardized our national security or mixed diplomacy with Clinton Foundation fundraising,” the RNC said.
The State Department, meanwhile, has had to defend Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified material, saying that while more than 180 messages now contain secret information, none of it was marked as secret at the time she handled it.
“It’s very difficult for us, and I said this before, to go back and to judge what the circumstances were at the time this information was shared and to make a judgment on whether that information was classified at the time. It’s not a black-and-white issue,” department spokesman Mark Turner told reporters Tuesday.
As secretary, Mrs. Clinton also had to make special arrangements for how to handle business from the Clinton Foundation, which had interests in many of the same international projects the State Department did.
Under Hillary Rodham Clinton, the State Department had “a certain nonchalance” about protecting sensitive data, a source tells The Washington Times. “We’re supposed to be making it harder, not easier, for our enemies to intercept us.”