ABC News reports, based on State Department emails, that “a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field.” The decision “baffled” the department’s professional staff.
The emails further reveal that, after inquiries from ABC News, Clinton’s staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter, and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.
The Clinton Foundation donor in question is Rajiv Fernando. The agency is the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB). Fernando, a Chicago securities trader who specialized in electronic investing, possessed no known background related to the matters the ISAB deals with, such as nuclear disarmament and other arms control issues.
Fernando himself would not answer questions from ABC News in 2011 about what qualified him for a seat on the board or led to his appointment.
When ABC News finally caught up with Fernando at the 2012 Democratic convention, he became upset and said he was “not at liberty” to speak about it. Security threatened to have the ABC News reporter arrested.
It isn’t difficult, though, to see what “qualified” Fernando for his national security gig:
Fernando’s history of campaign giving dated back at least to 2003 and was prolific. He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for president, giving maximum contributions to her campaign, and to HillPAC, in 2007 and 2008.
He also served as a fundraising bundler for Clinton, gathering more than $100,000 from others for her White House bid. After Barack Obama bested Clinton for the 2008 nomination, Fernando became a major fundraiser for the Obama campaign.
Prior to his State Department appointment, Fernando had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that indirectly helped Hillary Clinton retire her lingering 2008 campaign debts by renting her campaign email list.
It seems to have been Cheryl Mills, not surprisingly, who pushed through Fernando’s appointment. When the State Department searched for an explanation as to why he had been placed on the ISAB, it concluded that “the true answer is simply that S staff (Cheryl Mills) added him.”
Soon after Fernando’s appointment came under media scrutiny, the trader resigned. He said he needed to devote more time to his business.
Fernando continues to devote time to raising money for Hillary. According to ABC News, he emerged as one of the first “bundlers” to raise money for Clinton’s 2016 bid and in July 2015 hosted a fundraiser for Clinton at his Chicago home.
Fernando has also continued to donate to the Clinton Foundation. He now is listed on the charity’s website as having given between $1 million and $5 million.
The ISAB isn’t a normal, or suitable, landing place for a big donor. Fernando “served” alongside David A. Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group and United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector; Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor to two presidents; two former congressmen; and former Sen. Chuck Robb. William Perry, the former Secretary of Defense, chaired the panel.
Moreover, the emails confirm that the appointment qualified Fernando for one of the highest levels of top secret access.
It is scandalous that Fernando could buy himself a seat at that table. And it is a sign of things to come if corrupt Hillary becomes president.