AP has identified at least 75 meetings that Hillary Clinton had with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded (or not properly recorded) on her State Department calendar. AP identified the meetings by comparing her calendar with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events.
In many cases, Clinton’s State Department calendar simply excluded the meeting altogether. On other occasions, the names of those with whom she met were omitted.
It seems clear that the omissions were made to obscure Clinton’s ties to tycoons and big donors. For example, in one omission, Clinton’s State Department calendar dropped the identities of a dozen major Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009.
Most of these leaders were with firms that had lobbied the government and donated to the Clintons’ global organization. They included Blackstone Group Chairman Steven Schwarzman; PepsiCo CEO Indra ( “Middle Finger”) Nooyi; then-New York Bank of Mellon CEO Robert Kelly; Fabrizio Freda, CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.; Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Corp.; Lewis Frankfort, chairman of Coach Inc.; Ellen Kullman, then-CEO of DuPont; David M. Cote, CEO of Honeywell International Inc.; James Tisch, president of Loews Corp.; John D. Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group; and others.
Four of these attendees — Schwarzman, Nooyi, Cote and Kullman — headed companies that later donated to Clinton’s pet diplomatic project of that period, the U.S. pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. All of the firms represented except Coach lobbied the government in 2009. Blackstone, Honeywell, Omnicom, and DuPont lobbied the State Department that year. Schwarzman and Frankfort have personally donated to the Clinton Foundation, and most of the other firms contributed to it.
According to AP, Clinton’s calendar also repeatedly omitted private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders, and visits from old Clinton campaign hands and advisers such as Sidney Blumenthal and Thomas “Mack” McLarty. Other visitors included former energy lobbyist Joseph Wilson and entertainment magnate and Clinton campaign bundler Haim Saban.
Clinton has said that her goal in setting up her private email system was to eliminate the “risk of the personal being accessible.” She may regard her meetings with big donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and representatives of corporate interests as “personal” — for her the political is personal. But as Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, told AP:
It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen. These discrepancies are striking because of [Clinton’s possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.
AP had to go to court to pry from the State Department the records it needed to expose this latest example of Clinton’s lack of transparency and her ties to the wealthy.
The AP first sought Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department in August 2013, but the agency would not acknowledge even that it had the material. After nearly two years of delay, the AP sued the State Department in March 2015.
The department agreed in a court filing last August to turn over Clinton’s calendar, and provided the documents in November. After noticing discrepancies between Clinton’s calendar and some schedules, the AP pressed in court for all of Clinton’s planning material.
The U.S. has released about one-third of those planners to the AP so far.
This means that in all likelihood a great many other cases of Clinton hiding meetings eventually will be exposed. Unfortunately, by that time she may be holding her secret meetings in the White House.
No wonder Hillary wanted no record of them on her calendar.