Former President Bill Clinton spent taxpayer dollars to pay several Clinton Foundation employees and pay for IT support for Hillary Clinton’s private email server, according to a revealing investigation by Politico.
Despite the fact that the $2 billion Clinton Foundation rakes in millions of dollars worth of donation money every year, Clinton still felt it was necessary to dip his hands into a taxpayer-funded government program meant to ensure that ex-presidents live a life of “dignity” after their tenure in office. For years, he has used this program to subsidize the various operations of his family’s foundation and funnel money its associated businesses.
To be clear, Clinton’s activities here are technically legal, but they push the bounds of ethics, well, to Clintonian extremes. After all, the General Services Administration Act (GSA), the government program that essentially pays former presidents to merely exist, wasn’t exactly intended to fund personal business ventures.
“The Act authorizes the GSA to fund the pensions, correspondence, support staff and travel of ex-presidents. It was passed in 1958 to ‘maintain the dignity’ of the presidency by helping former commanders in chief avoid hard times like those that befell Harry S. Truman,” explains Politico. “He complained that, without help from Uncle Sam, he would be forced to ‘go ahead with some contracts to keep ahead of the hounds.’”
In short, the act was “originally created to keep former presidents out of the poorhouse,” affirms Politico.
Putting aside Hillary Clinton’s absurd and patronizing claim that her family was “dead broke” after her husband left the Oval Office, the Clintons have had no problem making obscene amounts of money giving paid-speeches to the country’s richest banks firms (i.e. Goldman Sachs) and signing multi-million dollar book deals.
But GSA records obtained by Politico through a FOIA request clearly show that Bill Clinton needed a bit more loot from taxpayers to supplement his foundation’s overpaid employees.
“The thousands of pages of newly uncovered records reveal sometimes granular detail about how Bill Clinton’s representatives directed the spending of taxpayer cash allocated by the GSA under the Former President’s Act,” reports Politico. “Taxpayer cash was used to buy IT equipment — including servers — housed at the Clinton Foundation, and also to supplement the pay and benefits of several aides now at the center of the email and cash-for-access scandals dogging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
The entire operation reeked so strongly of corruption that even GSA officials inquired into Clinton’s financial requests.
“In several cases, GSA officials raised questions about whether requested furniture and IT equipment including servers were intended for the Clinton Foundation, rather than Clinton’s personal office,” notes Politico.
A few of the Clinton Foundation employees funded with taxpayer dollars have even been the subject of FBI inquiries. One name in particular sticks out like a sore thumb: Justin Cooper, the unqualified IT guy that set up Hillary’s personal email server. Other names on the list of taxpayer-funded Clinton employees include Douglas Band, a man that’s so fiercely loyal to the Clintons that he would probably take a bullet for them.
Oh, and there’s another name that you’ve probably heard of. Yes, Huma Abedin was funded, albeit indirectly, by the federal presidential “dignity” program turned personal Clinton slush fund.
To be clear, Clinton’s activities here are technically legal, but they push the bounds of ethics, well, to Clintonian extremes.
Politico details the key players involved, highlighting the blurred line between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department:
But using the GSA records, POLITICO pieced together a list of Clinton loyalists who at various times have had their earnings supplemented by federal payments of about $10,000-a-year using funds from the Former Presidents Act.
The list reads like a field guide to Clinton World.
It includes longtime Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper, who despite not having a security clearance, any apparent training in cybersecurity or a job at the State Department, in early 2009 helped set up the private email account that Hillary Clinton would use to send and receive classified information as secretary of state. Her use of that system has been dubbed “extremely careless” by the FBI director. Cooper continued working to maintain Clinton’s private email system — including advising her top aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, on attempted hacks — through at least 2012, according to emails released by the State Department.
.At the same time, though, Cooper was working with Doug Band, a trusted Bill Clinton lieutenant, and Declan Kelly, a top Hillary Clinton fundraiser-turned-State Department official, to launch a global consulting firm called Teneo. It did lucrative work for foundation donors and entities with business before Clinton’s State Department. And it signed a contract reportedly worth $3.5 million with Bill Clinton to serve as a “honorary chairman” (though the former president ultimately kept only $100,000 of that, according to his tax returns and a source familiar with the arrangement). Teneo also paid Abedin as a “senior advisor.”
All the while, Band and Abedin were working together to broker meetings between Secretary of State Clinton and donors to the foundation, where Band served as an official until 2012, drawing an annual salary that in some years exceeded $111,000.
Yet, despite the profitable consulting business and his foundation compensation, Band continued drawing a taxpayer-funded stipend from the GSA until 2013.
Also receiving a salary from both the GSA and the Clinton Foundation was Laura Graham, who remained in extremely close contact with Clinton’s top aide at the State Department, swapping emails about sensitive foreign policy issues. During most of her time on the GSA payroll, Graham was earning a six-figure salary from the Clinton Foundation, which topped out at $190,000 per year in 2014.
Cooper, Band and Graham are no longer on the GSA payroll, nor are they working for the foundation. They all either declined to comment or did not respond to questions about the overlap between their taxpayer-funded work, the foundation and the State Department.
In total, Bill Clinton requested and received a staggering $16 million from the GSA program, more than any other president in history. As Politico’s thorough investigation concludes, the former president used the taxpayer-funded allocations to subsidize foundation employees, various operations within the foundation, and tech services that included maintenance and support for Hillary Clinton’s personal server.