While she was Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills also played a central role in the operation of the Clinton Foundation, in apparent violation of conflict of interest laws, and contrary to her sworn statements to congressional investigators.
That is the picture painted in emails to and from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, released by Wikileaks in October. The hacked emails confirm earlier allegations, first made by NLPC, about Mills’ dual allegiances. The emails were first detailed in an October 12 Daily Mail story by Alana Goodman.
NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm told the Daily Mail, “The new revelations in the latest Wikileaks email disclosure prove Cheryl Mills worked extensively with the Clinton Foundation, their Board, President Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton while at the same time working in a role at the State Department that appears to have created a serious conflict of interest.”
According to the emails, Mills was the architect of a reorganization of the Clinton Foundation in 2012 after it was the subject of negative media attention. Mills also mapped out a new structure for a for-profit entity called Teneo, as well as Bill Clinton’s paid speech-making operation.
Mills’ involvement in Bill’s speaking business is particularly striking because she was the State Department official designated to vet his speaking engagements for conflicts of interest.
The emails also confirm that Mills was not honest with congressional investigators preparing for hearings on the Benghazi episode. During an eight-hour deposition in September 2015, where Mills answered questions under oath, she was asked directly about the Clinton Foundation. She stated that she was serving on the Clinton Foundation board at that time, and did so “before I went into the State Department.” She simply left out her actions revealed in the Podesta emails.
Mills may have reason to believe that she can act with impunity and ignore the law. She was granted immunity in the case of Hillary’s private email server. Immunity is often granted to a target in a criminal investigation who might be expected to testify or provide evidence against another target, which in this case, could be Hillary. In an almost unbelievable legal conflict, Mills then served as Hillary’s lawyer when Hillary was interviewed by the FBI and Congressional investigators in the same case.
Last year, NLPC documented that Cheryl Mills worked as State Department chief of staff while at the same time she was NYU general counsel from January to May 2009. She collected $198,000 from NYU during that period, while she also received a government paycheck.
Mills continued to serve on the board of the Clinton Foundation for over a month after joining the State Department. Also, Mills at the same time sat on the board of something called the “NYU in Abu Dhabi Corporation.” NYU has a satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi government.
Based on information provided by Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, Mills’ double-dipping was first reported by Alana Goodman in the Washington Free Beacon on June 24, 2015, and was the basis for a front-page Washington Post story on October 12, 2015 by Rosalind S. Helderman.
Abu Dhabi is one of seven monarchies comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Clinton Foundation has received between $1 million and $5 million from the UAE government. Hillary gave the NYU commencement address in May 2009. Bill received $600,000 for a UAE government event in 2011, and $175,000 in November 2009 for a speech in Abu Dhabi. Bill has given additional paid speeches in the UAE, including a 2013 address at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus.
Mills’ relationships with NYU in Abu Dhabi and The Clinton Foundation undeniably comprised a serious conflict of interest. As a foreign country that is regularly accused of human rights abuses, UAE had more than incidental business before the State Department.