by DS Wright
September 23, 2013
An in-depth piece on longtime President Clinton
Doug Band has exposed
the Clinton Global Initiative as a den of favor trading
between Clinton family members and corporate executives.
The article published by the New Republic
Scandal at Clinton Inc. - How Doug Band drove a wedge
through a political dynasty, details at length how
Teneo Founder Doug Band worked his way into
President Clinton’s orbit then built a lucrative network of clients for his
company based off of leveraging Clinton’s name.
But within the lengthy piece is another
interesting story - how the Clinton Global Initiative functions as a place
to make deals, trade favors, and have politicians help Big Business assist
with PR problems.
Why not create an annual event that
harnessed the desire of wealthy celebrities to get close to Clinton
to advance the aims of his foundation? Thus, in 2005, the Clinton
Global Initiative (CGI) was born.
CGI is not a traditional charity -
unlike Clinton’s foundation, it does not dispense money of its own.
Instead, it is a series of collaborations with corporations or
individuals to solve global problems, anchored by an annual
conference that costs $20,000 to attend.
In the past eight years, CGI has secured
pledges worth $74 billion. (By comparison, the Gates Foundation has
given away $28 billion since its inception in 1994.)
As conceived by Band, CGI was the
perfect vehicle for Clinton. It allowed him to train his intellect
on wonky dilemmas - improving China’s power grid, bolstering Mali’s
market for locally produced rice.
And it placed him at the
center of a matrix
of the ultra-wealthy and the ultra-powerful, the kinds of people
Clinton has always taken a special pleasure in surrounding himself
Everyone knows a good deal of philanthropy is a
vanity exercise. So big deal, a bunch of rich and powerful people get
together to glad-hand under the guise of charity.
What’s nefarious about that?
For corporations, attaching Clinton’s brand to their social
investments offered a major p.r. boost. As further incentive, they
could hope for a kind word from Clinton the next time they landed in
a sticky spot.
“Coca-Cola or Dow or whoever would
come to the president,” explains a former White House colleague
of Band’s, “and say, ‘We need your help on this.’ ”
Negotiating these relationships, and the
trade-offs they required, could involve some gray areas. But for
that, Clinton had Band. As for
Band, he was right where he’d always wanted to be. He
solicited pledges from wealthy
donors and doled out access to Clinton.
He determined who got to be on stage with him and for how long, who
got into the photo line, who rode on the plane.
you look at CGI, it was an idea, and now it’s a huge business,”
says the Clinton friend. “[Band] started realizing he had all
this talent on the business side.”
More than that, Band came to see
entrepreneurial opportunities embedded within CGI itself.
“When they were raising money
for the foundation, Doug was the one who kept the tabs and the
lists and cut the deals,” says the former White House colleague.
“And Doug is very
OK, it got creepy.
This is is supposed to be for charity - I
imagine some tax write offs were taken - and it’s really a PR covenant?
A company gives money to this Band fellow and if
they get in a “sticky spot” suddenly fmr. President Clinton is there to
offer credibility to the company’s given PR strategy. Gross.
Bill Clinton has already gotten in some
favor trading with presidential pardons now
it seems he is back to his old tricks of selling access for money.
A problem that’s potential for embarrassment
will only worsen if his wife
Clinton gets into the White House.