Clinton Campaign Defends Meetings With Donors Following AP Report
Hillary Clinton’s campaign went on defense on Wednesday after an AP article said that over half of the people outside of government who met with her while she was secretary of state donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook shot back at the report describing it as “pretty outrageous” and said that the Associated Press was “cherry-picking” the Democratic nominee’s schedule. “By our count, there were over 1,700 other meetings she had,” Mook said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
The AP article, which was published on Aug. 23, stated that it did not include meetings with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives because such meetings would have been part of her diplomatic duties. Instead the AP focussed solely on the meetings she had with people outside of government.
According to the article at least 85 out of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she was secretary of state had donated to the Clinton Foundation or pledged commitments to its international programs. In total, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million, while at least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
The AP sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the schedules it has received so far.
Those who were allowed time with Clinton included an economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran, a Wall Street executive who needed help with a visa problem, and Estée Lauder executives.
“We’re not saying crime has been committed here,” said AP reporter and co-author of the article Stephen Braun during an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday. “But these are the kinds of things ethics councils in administrations worry about.”
Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said that the article was misrepresenting Clinton’s “basis for meeting with these individuals.” Fallon said that it was providing a “distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.”
The AP article was published on the same day as newly released emails showed top Clinton Foundation donors requesting meeting or favors from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. The requests were made through Doug Band, a longtime counselor to Bill Clinton who served as a top executive at the Clinton Foundation at the time. Among those making requests were Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, U2’s Bono, Peabody Energy Vice President Cartan Sumner, Benjamin Ringel, president and CEO of Armstrong Realty Management, and Clinton’s long-time friend, Kevin O’Keefe.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.