The Slatest

Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal $10,000 a Month While He Gave Hillary Libya Advice

Clinton Foundation iPad covers for sale at the Clinton Museum Store in Little Rock.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

On May 18 the New York Times reported that longtime Clinton family associate Sidney Blumenthal was working with individuals who had business interests in Libya at the same time that he sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton what she’s described as “unsolicited” intelligence reports about that country. It’s also been known that Blumenthal worked for the nonprofit Clinton Foundation at that time. A Politico story now reports more about Blumenthal’s role with the Foundation: He was paid $10,000 a month for “full-time” work whose value was apparently questioned by other staffers. From the site:

Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons’ global philanthropy in 2009 — not long after advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources.

While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation. They say that, during a 2013 reform push, Blumenthal was moved to a consulting contract that came with a similar pay rate but without benefits — an arrangement that endured until March.

For the record, a Blumenthal lawyer apparently denied to Politico that Blumenthal had financial interests in his work with the aspiring Libya entrepreneurs whose activities were reported on by the Times on May 18:

His lawyer, former Deputy Attorney General James Cole, told POLITICO on Wednesday that Blumenthal did not have any financial interest in the efforts of the two companies pushing to win contracts in Libya — Osprey Global Solutions and Constellations Group.

“He never got any money from — and has no continuing relationship with — Osprey or Constellations,” said Cole.

That’s slightly ambiguous wording on Politico’s part, given that not receiving money from a business and not having any potential financial interest in its success are not necessarily the same thing—and that the Times reported that the Libya companies were not successful in their efforts to win contracts. I emailed and called James Cole to clarify that point and will update this post if he responds.

To recap the whole situation: In 2011 and 2012, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, used an off-books email account to discuss national policy with a private citizen who might have been violating the law by participating in the conversation, who had a related business interest (though not a “financial interest”?) in the subject of his advice that he may or may not have disclosed to the government, and who was simultaneously employed in a questionable “full-time” capacity at significant expense to a nonprofit that has been accused of acting as the bag man for a Clintonian influence-peddling operation.