In yet another indication there may have been a “pay-to-play” relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the Department of State, a senior foundation executive left 148 phone messages for a top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton top aide over two years.
A review of State Department phone logs show Clinton Foundation Chief Operating Officer Laura Graham left the messages for Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s State Department chief of staff and confidante, according to Fox News.
One of those messages referred to “our boss” without any further identification. A second, from January 2012, presumably referred to former President Bill Clinton by his initials. It read, “Please call. WJC is looking for her [Graham] and she wants to talk to you before she talks to him.”
No other messages from nonprofit organizations appear so frequently in Mills’ call logs, which brings to mind two questions:
- If Graham was unable to connect with Mills nearly 150 times during that time, how many times were they able to immediately connect?
- What business could the foundation possibly have with the State Department?
The call logs were obtained by the conservative advocacy group Citizens United as part of its Freedom of Information Act request.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he couldn’t gauge how many of those messages were returned, nor provide “a read-out of every one of those messages or every one of those calls.” But he did admit that Mills and Graham never shared the same boss.
“Secretary Clinton’s ethics agreement at the time [she assumed office] did not preclude other State Department officials from engaging with, or having contact with, the Clinton Foundation,” Toner said.
Absent additional detail, there is no evidence of any misconduct in the calls or contacts between Graham and Mills. But the records surfaced amid mounting questions about the relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation, and particularly about the role played by Mills.
Last week, the State Department acknowledged that in June 2012, Mills spent two days traveling to New York to interview job applicants at the foundation. The State Department said Mills “volunteered” to do so, but neither the department nor a spokesman for the Clinton presidential campaign, nor Mills’s attorney, would say whether Mills used annual leave or unpaid days to perform that work – or whether it was done on the taxpayers’ time.
“It’s an amazing thing that the State Department spokesperson would actually make an argument that Hillary Clinton would be obligated under an ethics agreement that the White House made her sign with the foundation but her top employees would not be under that same agreement,” said Citizens United President David Bossie, “I find it’s just very Clintonesque.”