Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton a long intelligence email to Clinton about an upcoming election in the country of Georgia. It includes a message from John Kornblum, an international lawyer who was ambassador to Germany under President Bill Clinton. A billionaire named Bidzina Ivanishvili is opposing incumbent President Mikheil Saakashvili. Ivanishvili calls for closer relations with Russia, while Saakashvili is supported by the US.
Despite this, Blumenthal and Kornblum clearly favor Ivanishvili in the email, and the email mentions that Kornblum is employed advising Ivanishvili’s political party. The email even includes a personal letter to Clinton from Ivanishvili himself asking for her to change State Department policy to favor him.
In 2015, Gawker will report that this email could be in violation of a federal law designed to prevent foreign powers from covertly wielding influence within the US. Anyone attempting to influence US policy must register as foreign operatives, and records show that neither Blumenthal nor Kornblum do so.
Four lawyers who specialize in this legal field will tell Gawker that both of them should have registered before attempting to influence Clinton. For instance, one attorney says that this email is precisely “the type of activity that is meant to be captured” by the law, even if the lobbying stopped with just that one email. The maximum penalty for violating the law is ten years in prison.
Blumenthal sends the email twice under slightly different names, but there is no apparent reply from Clinton. (Gawker, 3/30/2015) (US Department of State, 11/30/2015) (US Department of State, 11/30/2015)