A new batch of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department offered fresh evidence Wednesday of the pains Clinton's staff took to accommodate her husband's paid speeches and her family's foundation — just hours after Sen. Tim Kaine dismissed the possibility that the Clinton Foundation had wielded influence over his running mate.
Emails showed Clinton's aides teamed up with the foundation to perform donor maintenance, craft messaging on key policies and put together guest lists for both diplomatic and philanthropic events. State Department staffers were often asked to advise Clinton's husband on how to handle politically-fraught speaking engagements or foundation events, such as an effort to bring the new Libyan president to a Clinton Global Initiative meeting that was held less than two weeks after the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
The trove of roughly 200 pages of records made public Wednesday was just the latest and most convincing indication that, rather than operate as an independent organization, the Clinton Foundation leaned heavily on the State Department to expand its global reach.
But authorities are unlikely to take any action against Clinton or her staff, despite the fact that they violated a Memorandum of Understanding with the White House in which they had pledged to avoid the appearance of conflicts with the foundation.
During the vice presidential debate Tuesday, Kaine claimed the State Department had looked into Clinton's conduct and concluded that she "took no action to benefit the foundation."
No such investigation ever occurred. In fact, the State Department specifically denied the existence of any investigation into Clinton Foundation influence as recently as August.
The emails released Wednesday by conservative-leaning Citizens United shed more light on the intersection of foundation and diplomatic business — and the delay in unearthing some of these messages shows just how consequential Clinton's decision to shield her records on a private server truly was.
Huma Abedin, then Clinton's deputy chief of staff, had the most contact with employees of the Clinton Foundation. Her cozy relationship with the charity earned her a paycheck in 2012, when the State Department approved an unusual personnel arrangement that allowed her to accept employment at the State Department and a controversial consulting firm called Teneo Strategies without leaving her agency position.
In Sept. 2009, for example, Abedin and Doug Band, then a foundation employee who went on to found Teneo, discussed who would make contact with a handful of top donors and insiders at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York City.
Those donors included John Kao, a former advisor to Clinton, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, and Jan Piercy, a "good friend" of Clinton's, according to Abedin.
Abedin proposed splitting up "pull asides" among herself, Clinton and Band at the end of the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
Hillary Clinton's closest aides expressed concerns in 2011 that one of Bill Clinton's paid speaking engagements could raise questions of influence in the administration's pending review of the Keystone Pipeline project, new emails show.
As Amitabh Desai, a Clinton Foundation staffer, prepared the former president to visit Canada for a paid speech, he reached out to the State Department for advice on how Bill Clinton should respond if he was asked about the controversial project.
"I prefer he not speak on this lest folks think this will be untoward influence," wrote Cheryl Mills, then Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, in an Oct. 2011 email to Desai.
The City of Surrey in Canada paid Bill Clinton $175,000 for a speech just three days after Mills issued her warning, financial disclosures show. It was not the only paid engagement to raise red flags that year about potential conflicts of interest related to the Keystone Pipeline. In May 2011, Bill Clinton pocketed $200,000 from TD Ameritrade, a major financier of the proposed pipeline project.
On the day of the Surrey speech, Desai emailed Mills with an article describing Hillary Clinton's close financial and political ties to lobbyists for the pipeline. For example, her 2008 deputy campaign manager went on to be a leading lobbyist for TransCanada, the company building the pipeline.
Desai indicated Bill Clinton had questions about the accuracy of the story, which suggested the State Department had allowed TransCanada to manipulate the agency's independent review by hand-picking which firm would conduct it.
"It is not accurate to my understanding," Mills replied before adding that she planned to check with other State Department staffers.
At a San Francisco event in Oct. 2010, Hillary Clinton said her agency was "inclined" to sign off on construction of the Keystone pipeline, according to a transcript. She has since come out against the project.
But the fact that Clinton Foundation employees and State Department staff collaborated on ways to message the Keystone Pipeline given both Clintons' intimate ties to the project raises additional questions about the nexus of Bill Clinton's paid speeches, the foundation and his wife's diplomatic work.
In Sept. 2011, Band and Abedin discussed an invitation to an upcoming reception at the home of former Secretary of State George Shultz after a close Clinton ally, Vinod Gupta, asked if he could bring an associate.
Abedin had never heard of Rich Guggenhime, a California lawyer whom Gupta wanted to invite to the event. But Band assured her Guggenhime was a "good guy."
The reception was part of a campaign, led by Hillary Clinton, to collect funds for the upkeep of lavish diplomatic reception rooms within the State Department's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Gupta, a longtime Clinton supporter, offered Bill Clinton a consulting contract ultimately worth millions of dollars through his company, InfoUSA, at the conclusion of Bill Clinton's presidency. He has reportedly allowed the former president to fly frequently on his corporate jet and even earned sleepovers at the White House during Bill Clinton's tenure — a privilege the Clintons extended to particularly deep-pocketed donors.
Gupta's enjoyment of high-level perks seemingly continued when State Department and foundation staff coordinated to allow him a guest at the agency-backed gala.
Some figures with ties to Hillary Clinton's current presidential campaign worked their relationships with the former secretary of state to gain access for themselves or clients.
For instance, when Janice Enright, a powerful lobbyist with longstanding ties to the Democratic Party, sought a State Department audience for a client in March 2010, she went to Band with the request.
"Oh come on," she wrote to Band after he expressed doubts that the meeting would happen. "[Y]ou can make this happen."
Band turned to Abedin to seek answers about the vetting process that was hindering Enright's clients.
Enright has donated to Hillary Clinton's campaigns since her 2000 bid for a U.S. Senate seat in New York, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. She was also involved in drumming up funds for the Ready for Hillary political action committee that collected voter data in preparation for Hillary Clinton's nascent campaign.
Thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails are set to be released before Election Day. Those records are expected to contain particularly interesting material given that her team deleted them after claiming incorrectly that they were personal in nature.
Not all Clinton-related records in possession of the State Department will make their way into the public domain before November, however. At least a half-dozen Freedom of Information Act lawsuits for documents ranging from Bill Clinton's speech schedules to internal discussions of the Keystone Pipeline have been delayed beyond Election Day.