Emails released by WikiLeaks have revealed that a number of Hillary Clinton’s staffers and others were concerned about potential conflicts between the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising, Hillary Clinton’s work at the State Department and her presidential campaign, and Bill Clinton’s personal ventures, which have made him a considerable amount of money since leaving office.
Looking through the emails, there’s a general sense of anxiety about Bill’s various projects, and how they could affect his wife’s presidential ambitions—and a sense that political aides were largely powerless when they tried to intercede. When greater control over the Clinton Foundation was exerted—largely by Chelsea Clinton—it often resulted in chaos because various high-level officials there, most notably Doug Band, felt that their own moneymaking efforts were threatened.
Back in 2013, Alec MacGillis wrote in The New Republic about Band’s efforts to use his proximity to the Clintons to build a fortune. Band, entranced by power and by wealth, repeatedly put the Clintons in compromising positions to benefit himself, bringing in shady figures like Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend (and later convicted money launderer) Raffaello Follieri into their orbit, regularly using the Clinton name to land flashy dining reservations, and insisting on staying in luxurious locations, despite Bill’s seeming disinterest. At the time, the Clinton Foundation called MacGillis’s reporting baseless, but it is borne out by the WikiLeaks emails.
The Clintons have tried to sever their connection to Band in recent years, but he is, in many ways, indicative of the Clinton Foundation’s larger problems. It’s often hard to disentangle its philanthropic work from its fundraising activities, Bill’s work on its behalf from Hillary’s political ambitions, and some of its shadier figures from its noble ambitions. It’s a problem that continues to baffle Hillary and her closest aides, if the Wikileaks emails are to be trusted. It will continue to be a thorn in her side if she is elected.