Podesta Emails: Clinton Advisers Discuss Chelsea’s Wedding Tab and the Need to ‘Crush’ Sanders
Another day, another Podesta email debacle for the Clinton campaign, courtesy of WikiLeaks.
Actually, the weekend brought more than one unwelcome surprise from the trove of emails culled from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s hacked account and still being released just shy of the presidential election.
First, a bit about the former and maybe future first daughter. Doug Band, adviser to former President Bill Clinton, wound up in a diplomatically challenging situation in October when a leaked email from 2011 quoted him as saying Chelsea Clinton was “acting like a spoiled brat kid.” On Sunday, the need for Band to make a series of awkward, explanatory phone calls to the Clinton family became even more urgent when two more reveals were made public via the same channel: Band’s emails to Podesta.
The first involved Chelsea’s husband, Mark Mezvinsky, who was working his connection to his in-laws—and, more specifically, to their Clinton Foundation—to drum up funds for his hedge fund. Politico on Sunday detailed how that cozy arrangement played out:
In a Jan. 2012 email to Podesta, Mills and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Band wrote that Mezvinsky invited “several potential investors” for his hedge fund “and a few current business ones” to a foundation poker night fundraiser he had been planning.
“I assume all are contributing to the foundation, which of course isn’t the point,” Band wrote. “The entire plan of his has been to use this for his business.”
In the same email, Band—referring to Chelsea Clinton by her initials—wrote that Mezvinsky “has CVC making some calls for him to get mtgs with some clinton people.”
And, in a Nov. 2011 memo released Sunday, Band wrote that major Clinton Foundation donor Marc Lasry was “assisting Marc Mezvinsky—Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky’s husband—in raising money for his new fund.”
The New York Post spread the word the same day about allegations regarding Chelsea’s own exploitation of her position in the Clinton dynasty for personal gain:
Chelsea Clinton used her family foundation’s cash to pay for her wedding, living expenses and taxes on gifts of cash from her parents, according to a bombshell email made public Sunday.
Doug Band, formerly a top aide to President Bill Clinton, griped about the former First Daughter’s spending in a Jan. 4, 2012, email released by WikiLeaks.
“The investigation into her getting paid for campaigning, using foundation resources for her wedding and life for a decade, taxes on money from her parents….” Band wrote to John Podesta, now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
“I hope that you will speak to her and end this. Once we go down this road….”
Band also relayed that Chelsea had confided in one of George W. Bush’s two daughters, Barbara or Jenna, that she was investigating how to transfer money from the Clinton Global Initiative to the family foundation.
On Thursday, Clinton adviser and lobbyist Joel Johnson’s emailed words came back to haunt him when WikiLeaks loosed a concise email, sent Feb. 22, that reads like the stuff of schlocky movie scripts, topped off by a simple subject line: “Friendly advice. No mercy”:
Bernie needs to be ground to a pulp. We can’t start believing our own primary bullshit. This is no time to run the general. Crush him as hard as you can. Other than that, hope all is well and congrats on Nevada!
Though the primary season may seem too remote to remember, that was Sen. Bernie Sanders that Johnson was targeting. So, who is Johnson? Allow Salon to elaborate:
Joel Johnson is an influential political operative with a long history in Democratic circles.
From 1999 to 2001, he served as a senior adviser for policy and communications under former president Bill Clinton. In 2004, Johnson became part of the communications team for John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
He also previously worked for former Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Howard Metzenbaum. Daschle is a Podesta ally who, since leaving office, has himself become a prominent lobbyist.
Johnson corresponded with Podesta and Clinton campaign officials on numerous occasions over several years. In another email from February of this year, Johnson wrote, “I know you can’t look past Bernie.” Emails to Podesta from various people in 2008 and 2011 also included Johnson as a recipient.
… A 2004 Washington Post story “Lobbyists Take Leave to Advise Kerry Campaign” listed Joel Johnson as part of a group of “Democratic insiders” and “lobbyists with close ties to a wide array of businesses, including drug companies and Microsoft Corp.”
Before joining Kerry’s campaign, Johnson had served as a managing director of the Harbour Group, a Democratic public relations firm in Washington that he had co-founded. The group lobbied on behalf of oil, pharmaceutical, food processing and airline companies.
The Washington Post noted that Johnson “acted as a strategist for two of the business world’s thorniest legislative issues,” working on behalf of the Asbestos Study Group, a coalition of companies seeking limits on asbestos-related lawsuits; and Nextel Communications, which was trying to buy portions of the publicly owned radio-wave spectrum before it later merged with Sprint.
As for Sanders, the former challenger to the Democratic presidential nomination didn’t seem particularly crushed or fazed by this round of news about the unseemly business of major-party politicking, as he stepped up his support for Hillary Clinton over the weekend. During a rally at Iowa State University, Sanders told the crowd, “Get beyond personality; that means taking a hard look at what the candidates stand for.”
Sanders’ camp also released this campaign ad last week and played it in crucial zones around the country over the weekend:
Meanwhile, by all indications, Doug Band is currently avoiding further public exposure.
—Posted by Kasia Anderson
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