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How 'Friends Of Bill' Fleeced Haiti

- October 11, 2016

In The Wake Of A Deadly Earthquake, Friends Of Bill Clinton Received Special Treatment Even In The Most Dire Of Times


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • In the chaotic days following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000, requests from individuals identified as "Friends Of Bill" were given special attention by the Clinton State Department.
  • When asked about the State Department emails identifying "Friends of Bill," the State Department responded that it could not speak to staff emails from that time.
  • While the Clinton State Department sent on emails from Friends Of Bill to senior officials coordinating the U.S. response to the Haiti earthquake, offers of aid from people that did not have connections to the Clintons were cast aside.
  • The Clinton's marquee project was an industrial park that fell far short of its promised goals and some workers have voiced complaints of sexual assault.
  • The Caracol Park was engineered by top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and the chairman of Caracol's anchor tenant invested money in Mills' new business venture.
  • Six months after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State, the State department paid an undisclosed sum to a democrat-affiliated polling firm to conduct a survey on President Clinton's popularity in Haiti.

In The Hours After The Deadly 2010 Haiti Earthquake, Clinton Aides At The State Department Gave Instructions To Give Friends Of Bill 'Special Attention'

The 2010 Haiti Earthquake Leveled Much Of The Haitian Capital And Killed An Estimated 200,000 People. "The correspondence paints a picture of the chaotic first days after the earthquake leveled much of the Haitian capital and claimed an estimated 200,000 lives. One series of messages chronicles efforts by billionaire Denis O'Brien, a longtime donor to the Clinton Foundation and the CEO of the Jamaica-based telecom firm Digicel, to fly relief supplies into Port-au-Prince and get employees of his company out." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

State Department Personnel Gave Special Attention To "Friends Of Bill Clinton" In The Immediate Aftermath Of The Haitian Earthquake. "In a series of candid email exchanges with top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations 'FOB' (friends of Bill Clinton) or 'WJC VIPs' (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs)." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

A Senior State Department Aide Gave Instructions To "Flag When People Are Friends Of WJC." "'Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,' wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. 'Most I can probably ID but not all.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

In At Least A Dozen State Department Emails About Haiti, Individuals Are Identified As "Friends Of Bill."

(ABC News, 10/11/16)

Multiple Clinton Foundation Donors Were Given Special Access To Senior Government Officials After They Were Designated "Friends Of Bill"

Denis O' Brien, Founder And CEO Of Digicel And Longtime Donor To The Clinton Foundation, Needed Help Getting Supplies Into Haiti So He Reached Out To Bill Clinton Aide Doug Band. "One series of messages chronicles efforts by billionaire Denis O'Brien, a longtime donor to the Clinton Foundation and the CEO of the Jamaica-based telecom firm Digicel, to fly relief supplies into Port-au-Prince and get employees of his company out. 'This WJC VIP just called again from Jamaica to say Digicel is being pushed by US Army to get comms back up but is not being cleared by [the U.S. government] to deploy into Haiti to do so,' Desai wrote in an email with the subject line 'Close friend of Clintons.' Later, O'Brien writes to longtime Clinton aide Doug Band to express frustration. 'We're finding it impossible to get landing slots,' he says. 'I'm sorry to bother you but I am not making any progress through conventional channels.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Band Wrote To A Clinton Foundation Staffer To "Get On This." "Band tasks Desai to 'pls get on this,' telling O'Brien, 'Never a bother.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Clinton Foundation Forwarded The Request To The State Department And The Request Was Pushed Up The Chain Of Command At USAID . "Desai then turns to Klevorick to help 'a friend of President Clinton,' and the request is pushed up the chain of command to USAID officials organizing the relief effort." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

A State Department Aide Fielded A Request From A Board Member Of The Clinton Foundation, Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster, Who Has Business Interests In The Caribbean . "Klevorick also fielded several requests for Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster, a board member of the Clinton Foundation who has business interests in power plants in the neighboring Dominican Republic and other nearby countries." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Bunster Sent An Email With The Subject Line 'CLINTON FRIEND/WANTING INFO' Asking For Information About Haiti's Power Grid. "In an email sent just days after the quake, with the subject line, 'CLINTON FRIEND/WANTING INFO,' Bunster asks for detailed satellite imagery of the Haitian power grid after the earthquake to help 'do a reconnaissance of the status of the transmission and distribution lines and power plants.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake,"ABC News, 10/11/16)

Bunster's Request Was Sent To A Top USAID Official With The Notation That He Was A Close Friend Of Bill 'Dating Back To Georgetown .' "In another email, Klevorick alerts a top USAID official of the request, referring to Bunster as a 'close friend of the Secretary and Former President dating back to [their college years at] Georgetown.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Garry Mauro, A Former Chairman Of President Clinton's Campaigns, Sent A Request On Behalf Of A Contractor To The Clinton Foundation That Was Forwarded To The State Department In An Email Noting That Mauro Was A Friend Of Bill. "Desai forwarded a note to Klevorick from Garry Mauro, who served twice as the Texas state chairman for Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns and has donated $25,000 to $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The offer was for 'major assets in Haiti' from a company called DRC Emergency Services. On its website, the company boasts of having performed emergency response work at disasters around the globe, with over $2 billion in disaster response contracts. Desai noted that Mauro was 'a friend of WJC.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The State Department Aide Who Received The Email From The Clinton Foundation Noted That The Sender Was Also A 'Friend' Of Hillary. "Klevorick replied, 'also note hrc friend,' using initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The email chain does not indicate if Mauro's recommendation led to a contract for DRC, though the company's website states, 'Within 24 hours of the earthquake's occurrence, DRC assembled and mobilized a team of highly experienced and dedicated personnel to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

When Asked About The State Department Emails Identifying "Friends Of Bill," The State Department Responded That It Could Not Speak To Staff Emails From That Time

State Department: Despite Many Emails Showing Special Treatment Of "FOBs" And "WSJVIPs," We Investigated Ourselves And Found No Wrongdoing, And/But, "Can't Speak To The Staff Email At The Time." THE ASSOCIATED PRESS'S MATT LEE: "There's a report that just came out a little while ago, an ABC report, based on some emails and I haven't had a chance to read it closely enough yet to know if it actually makes the allegation or just suggests there might have been some impropriety so lets me just ask the question that I think it hints at. In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, did the Department give preference to people or companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation in terms of contracts to help Haiti recover?" STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY: "We found no evidence that preferential treatment was given to any particular entity or organization with respect to contracts." LEE: "So in other words, you are saying although these emails showed that people were flagged as being friends with the former president or their companies, your review found that didn't actually translate into any favoritism?" KIRBY: "Right, in preparing our response for that story, we looked into that, and did not find any evidence that preferential treatment for contracts was given. But I don't think it should- with President Clinton being the- designated by the United Nations as the special envoy for Haiti, I don't think it would come as a shock to anybody that the people associated with, or friends of him or the Clinton Foundation would also, in a time of great need, want to contribute. But I see no evidence of any preferential or special treatment." LEE: "But that's not the question. I mean these people were identified as friends." KIRBY: "Yeah, yeah." LEE: "Friends of the former president, or not. And so you're saying here the people that were identified as friends, were identified as friends …" KIRBY: "Well I can't speak to the staff email at the time …" LEE: "Or people who weren't identified as friends being sent to other places." KIRBY: "What, no again. What I'd say is, seeing no evidence that preferential treatment was given to anybody based on their association with the Clinton Foundation or the former president." (State Department Press Briefing, 10/11/16)

Click To Watch

Clinton's Aides Directed Offers Of Aid And Help Not From Friends Of Bill To A Government Website

A Senior State Department Aide Directed An Offer Of Medical Supplies From A Woman Who Was Not A Friend Of Bill To A Government Website. "'Is this a FOB!' Klevorick writes later, when a Clinton Foundation aide forwards a woman's offer of medical supplies. 'If not, she should go to cidi.org,' she adds, directing the person deemed not to be a Clinton friend to a general government website." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "'FOBS': How Hillary's State Dept. Gave Special Attention To 'Friends Of Bill' After Haiti Quake," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Clintons' Caracol Industrial Park Fell Far Short Of Its Promised Goals And Some Workers Have Voiced Complaints Of Sexual Assault

The Clinton's Gave A Great Deal Of Attention To A Garment Factory Called Caracol Industrial Park. "No project received as much attention from the Clintons as the long-discussed industrial park and garment factory built a six hour drive north of the Haitian capital, in a speck of a town called Caracol." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

  • The Location Of The Park Was Well Beyond The Earthquake's Epicenter And In An Area Not Affected By The Disaster. "The location was well beyond the destructive earthquake's epicenter, in a rural part of the country left largely untouched by the disaster." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Multiple Clinton Foundation Donors Benefitted Or Were Financially Invested In The Project . "Clinton Foundation donors surfaced in many facets of the project. The modern industrial park, with wide, clear roads connecting rows of low-slung warehouses, would be paid for by the Inter-American Development Bank, which provided $256.8 million in grants to support construction. The bank has donated $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to its website. Large American retailers, including Wal-Mart and Gap Inc., have served as buyers for the clothes shipped from Haiti to the U.S. with special U.S. tax breaks. Wal-Mart has given $1 million to $5 million, and Gap has given $100,000 to $250,000 to the foundation. And in 2012, SAE-A, the Korean garment company that was recruited to become the anchor tenant of the park, gave $50,000 to $100,000 to the foundation." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

When Asked By ABC, The Clinton Foundation Claims That It Was 'Not Involved' In The Decision To Build Caracol Nor Did It Assist In Securing Financing For The Project, But In Past Statements The Clinton Foundation Has Embraced Caracol And Stated That It "Helped Promote Caracol." "The Clinton Foundation's chairman told ABC News that it 'was not involved' in the decision to build Caracol, did not work to recruit Sae-A as its anchor tenant, did not help secure financing from the Inter-American Development Bank or help persuade companies such as Gap and Wal-Mart to buy goods there. In past interviews and assertions on its website, however, the foundation has embraced the Caracol project. One foundation official, Greg Milne, was quoted in a press report saying the foundation 'helped to promote Caracol as an investment destination and worked … to attract new tenants and investments to the park.' The website adds that the foundation was part of the 'collaboration' to plan Caracol and 'assisted with [its] development.' Sae-A officials credited the Clintons for bringing together 'the private sector, [aid groups], individuals and others who care about the country to tackle and work towards a better Haiti.'" (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Project Was Backed By The U.S. Government Who Promised It Would Bring 100,000 Jobs To Haiti. "The project, strongly backed by the U.S. government, held great promise. At one point, officials estimated it would bring 100,000 new jobs to Haiti." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

  • Hillary Clinton Predicted That Factory Would Produce 20,000 Jobs By 2016, But Current Estimates Indicate That Only 8,000-9,000 Workers Are Employed At The Factory. "For Haiti, the factory was an avenue into a new industry - textiles - and the jobs it could bring. Hillary Clinton predicted a factory humming with 20,000 jobs by 2016. Estimates of how many people work there now range from 8,000 to 9,000." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Anchor Tenant Of The Park Has Faced Allegations Of Worker Abuse. "The invitation to SEA-A to anchor the industrial park occurred despite past allegations of worker abuse the company faced in Guatemala." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Allegations Have Surfaced That Employees Were Forced To Give Sexual Favors To Supervisors To Obtain Jobs At The Factory. "Now assertions against the company are emerging in Haiti, according to workers and labor advocates interviewed by ABC News. In April, a group called Better Work Haiti published a report finding the factory was noncompliant in the areas of sexual harassment, bullying and humiliation of employees. Yannick Etienne, a labor organizer, told ABC News she received reports from SAE-A workers that they had to provide sexual favors to supervisors in order to obtain jobs in the factory. 'We've heard that there are people who are victim of this sexual harassment situation in the park,' she said." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Factory Officials Were Reluctant To Let ABC News Speak To Workers. "But factory officials were reluctant to let ABC News reporters talk directly to workers during a recent visit. When ABC News asked to speak with workers, one company official spoke in Korean to another, saying, 'I don't think you should allow that.' Eventually, three workers were taken from another part of the factory to be interviewed." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

Caracol Was Engineered By Top Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills--Whose Firm Received Money From The Chairman Of Caracol's Anchor Tenant

At The Grand Opening Of Caracol, Bill And Hillary Clinton Singled Out Top Aide Cheryl Mills For Her Efforts In The Successful Launch Of The Sae-A Factory. "At an opening ceremony for the park in 2012, Bill and Hillary Clinton singled out one person for her dedication to the successful launch of the Sae-A factory at Caracol: Cheryl Mills. At the time, she was serving as Hillary Clinton's chief of staff." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Chairman Of Sae-A Is Listed As One Of The Initial Investors In Cheryl Mill's Firm Black Ivy. "The chairman of SAE-A, Woong-ki Kim, was identified on the Black Ivy website as one of the initial investors in the firm. That page has since been taken down." (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Brian Epstein, & Cho Park, "In Haiti, A Factory Where Big Money, State Department And The Clintons Meet," ABC News, 10/11/16)

The Clinton State Department Paid An Undisclosed Sum To A Democrat-Affiliated Polling Firm To Conduct A Survey On President Clinton's Popularity In Haiti

U.S. Officials Conducted A Poll Measuring The Popularity Of President Clinton In Haiti While Secretary Clinton Was In Office And Privately Shared The Results With The Former President . "While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, U.S. officials included a question measuring Bill Clinton's popularity in Haiti in an ongoing poll of the country's citizens, and the State Department shared the results privately with the former president, internal government emails show." (Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, "Under Hillary Clinton, US Officials Asked Haitians, Do You Like Bill," ABC News, 10/11/16)


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