The Wikileaks disclosures continue to hound the Clintons and the recent release implicates the relationship between Bill Clinton and for-profit educational company, Laureate International. I previously wrote about the huge payments given to Bill Clinton by Laureate, a controversial global educational company that gave Clinton millions while his wife was Secretary of State. Now, emails reveal that one of Clinton’s closest aides, Doug Band, describes Bill Clinton’s use of the Clinton Foundation as a mean to secure personal windfalls as “Bill Clinton, Inc.”
I have long been a critic of many online courses. The rise of online courses has allowed for an increase in dubious pitches and practices that prey upon people who cannot afford or attend a traditional academic institution. Laureate is a massive, mega-corporation that is often criticized for its impact on education. As companies maximize profits, students often become a mere cost of doing business. The rate of default has been higher at such for-profit universities and less than half of students at for-profit schools actually finish such programs accordingly to Brookings. Laureate is often cited as the leader in reducing education to a commodity in a mass for-profit enterprise. The company has made huge profits and is worth over $4 billion. Indeed, shortly before Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president and denounced for-profit educational companies, Bill Clinton severed his ties with Laureate.
Laureate Education paid Bill Clinton an obscene $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014 to serve as an honorary chancellor for Laureate International Universities. Various news outlets said that neither Clinton nor Laureate were forthcoming on how much he was paid for the controversial association. Bill Clinton worked as the “honorary chancellor” and gave speeches in various countries and was heavily touted by the for-profit company to attract students. The size of this payment (which has been widely reported) raises obvious concerns as to what the company was seeking to achieve and whether Laureate received any benefit from the association with the State Department given its massive international operations.
Now Band is shown stating exactly what critics have been saying: there is a highly problematic pattern in how the Clintons mixed personal and foundation businesses. Under fire over his own simultaneous positions working as a Clinton aide while maintaining a for-profit business, Band suggested that (if he was to be viewed as double dealing) Bill Clinton would be far worse. He referred to the former President as “Bill Clinton Inc” due to his use of Foundation donors to not just pay for travel but generate personal profits.
The 2011 memo revealed how Band and another aide helped Bill Clinton snare at least $50 million in speaking fees and other ventures. We discussed earlier how Band discussed the Clinton Global Initiative and a new business started by top Clinton aide Doug Band called Teneo Holdings. Both Band and Clinton’s held dual positions with Teneo and CGI. Bond wrote a November 17th email to John Podesta, Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and long-time Clinton confidant. He objected to Pedestal that “I signed a conflict of interest policy as a board member of cgi . . . Oddly, [Bill Clinton] does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc. . . I could add 500 different examples of things like this.” Band was on the Clinton Foundation payroll through 2011, but, in June 2011, he and co-founder Declan Kelly, a former economic envoy for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, started Teneo in June 2011. They then made Bill Clinton a paid adviser. Chelsea Clinton was then appointed to the CGI board. Teneo then accepted money from groups like MF Global, a controversial brokerage firm that reportedly lost $600 million of investors’ money and had business deals that could be benefited by an association with the Secretary of State.
The 12-page memo from Doug Band talked about how he and other secured money for the ex-president and Clinton’s namesake foundation: “Throughout the past almost 11 years since President Clinton left office, I have sought to leverage my activities, including my partner role at Teneo, to support and to raise funds for the Foundation. This memorandum strives to set forth how I have endeavored to support the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton personally.” The email has a slightly menacing tone as Band includes section headings like “For-Profit Activity of President Clinton (i.e., Bill Clinton, Inc.).” Band describes the fluid line between Clinton’s public interest work with the Foundation and his seeking personal payments from donors. Band discusses how he and Clinton aide Justin Cooper “found, developed and brought” to Clinton advisory arrangements that “yielded tens of millions” and specifically cited “$20 million in speeches for the President have derived … from Justin and my efforts.” The controversial Teneo company worked to arrange these fees for Clinton from corporations. Band then adds that he made a lot of money for the Clintons but “Neither Justin nor I are separately compensated for these activities.”
One of those companies was Laureate International.
Band himself is the latest aide given problematic positions with the State Department or the Foundation while pursing private gain. Such dual roles have already been raised with regard to Huma Adedin and others. When Sidney Blumenthal (who is widely viewed as a somewhat shady Clinton operative) was blocked by the Obama Administration from being given a State Department job, he was instead given a job at the Foundation. Band suggests that he was a type of “earner” for Clinton and describes a highly uncertain line between Foundation work and work for the Clintons.