A set of emails made public Tuesday from Hillary Clinton's top aides at the State Department show Clinton Foundation executives and donors frequently consulted with the secretary of state's office, including by asking former President Bill Clinton to conduct "private" diplomatic discussions on a foundation-sponsored trip to Rwanda.
In the email, Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African affairs, said he and "the ambassador believe that it would be useful for President Clinton in his private conversations with [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame to quietly encourage him to defuse tensions with the [Democratic Republic of the Congo]." Much of the rest of the July 2012 email was classified by the State Department before it was released to Citizens United through the Freedom of Information Act.
Cheryl Mills, then Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, later shared "talking points" with a Clinton Foundation executive for Bill Clinton to use on his trip.
The emails preceded a September 2012 swing through Rwanda to tour Clinton Foundation projects, on which a New York Times reporter was brought to document the charity's work.
A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation did not immediately return a request for comment about the trip.
The records were just the latest demonstrations of the cozy relationship between the foreign activities of the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's diplomatic office.
For example, in one exchange with Huma Abedin, then deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, foundation staffer Amitabh Desai asked in 2012 if the government would have "concerns" if Bill Clinton appeared beside the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan at an upcoming paid speech event after the U.S. government had criticized her heavily. In another instance, Desai asked Mills to approve an idea for a Bill Clinton op-ed that had been floated by Mack McLarty, a Democratic bundler and longtime Clinton confidante.
One email from Dennis Cheng, a Clinton Foundation executive, to Abedin contained the guest list for a foundation dinner that mixed State Department officials, donors and Clinton friends. The guest list included Terry McAuliffe, who was then idenfitified as the "chairman of Green Tech Automotive."
Abedin indicated that the dinner list was "for [Clinton's] house."
An executive from pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, a major foundation donor, wrote to Mills in April 2012. A lobbyist from DLA Piper, also a major foundation donor, touted the private meeting he obtained with an ambassador for a corporate client in March 2011.
The close contact between corporate donors and State Department staffers revealed in the latest set of emails mirrors the discussions exposed by previous batches of records from Hillary Clinton's inbox.
Bill Clinton has pledged to curtail foreign and corporate contributions to the foundation if his wife wins the presidency. He has also agreed to remove himself from the charity's daily operations.
But the controversy over what role the foundation was permitted to play in Hillary Clinton's State Department decisions has only intensified since the announced changes to donor policy. Critics have seen the pledge as an admission that the Clinton Foundation's activities to date were unethical.