September 22, 2013: The Clinton Foundation’s possible conflicts of interest are scrutinized.

Bill Clinton (left) and Douglas Band (right). (Credit: The White House)

Bill Clinton (left) and Douglas Band (right). (Credit: The White House)

The New Republic publishes a long investigative article about Douglas Band, who has simultaneously been Bill Clinton’s personal assistant, a top manager in the Clinton Foundation, and the head of the Teneo consulting firm. It discusses the Clinton Foundation: “Bill Clinton now leads a sprawling philanthropic empire like no other. The good it achieves is undeniable. It has formed partnerships with multinationals and wealthy individuals to distribute billions of dollars all over the globe. Its many innovative projects include efforts to lower the costs of medicines in developing nations and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in major cities. And yet it’s hard to shake the sense that it’s not all about saving the world. There’s an undertow of transactionalism in the glittering annual dinners, the fixation on celebrity, and a certain contingent of donors whose charitable contributions and business interests occupy an uncomfortable proximity. More than anyone else except Clinton himself, Band is responsible for creating this culture. And not only did he create it; he has thrived in it.”

The article also says, “For corporations, attaching Clinton’s brand to their social investments offered a major PR [public relations] boost. As further incentive, they could hope for a kind word from Clinton the next time they landed in a sticky spot. ‘Coca-Cola or Dow or whoever would come to the president,’ explains a former White House colleague of Band’s, ‘and say, ‘We need your help on this.’ Negotiating these relationships, and the trade-offs they required, could involve some gray areas.” Potential conflicts of interest with Band’s Teneo company, the Clinton Foundation, and Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state were a major issue as long as she held that job. (The New Republic, 9/22/2013)