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Leaked 2008 Memo Criticized Clinton Foundation's Management, Conflicts, Culture

- November 5, 2016

In A November 10, 2008 Memo From Kumiki Gibson To Bruce Lindsey, Gibson Laid Out Numerous Issues With The Setup Of The Clinton Foundation. "This report sets forth the findings of my review of the Legal and Human Resources Departments of the William J. Clinton Foundation ("Foundation") and those pertaining to other areas of the Foundation revealed during this review, and my recommendations to the Foundation based on this review." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That Managers Shun Controls, Creating A "Culture That Under-Values Structure, Controls, And Compliance." "Structure, rules, and processes ensure that the Foundation operates lawfully, consistently, and efficiently, which ultimately enhance its effectiveness and reputation. It is unclear whether certain managers shun such controls because they have never worked in an environment that was both entrepreneurial and disciplined; because they do not know how to create and/or manage an office/initiative that is entrepreneurial, but disciplined and structured; because they prefer working, as they do, with little oversight or accountability; and/or all, or some combination of all, of the above. No matter what the cause, this disdain has resulted in a culture that under-values structure, controls, and compliance." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That Even Senior Employees "Could Not Articulate The Organization's Game Plan For Achieving Its Mission, Confessed That There Are No Goals Or Measures Tied To Any Strategy" Resulting In "Very Little, If Any, Accountability." "The lack of a strategy tied to an articulated vision is one of the major deficiencies of this organization. Employees, even at the senior level, could not articulate the organization's game plan for achieving its mission, confessed that there are no goals or measures tied to any strategy, and complained that the work across the organization is not linked to each other or, even worse, does not always advance the Foundation's mission or best interests. The lack of strategy has resulted in, among other things, a lot of confusion across the organization about organizational priorities (which many claim appear to shift constantly); missed opportunities (as a result of shifting priorities and lack of a game plan); very little, if any, accountability (as no one's work is measured against established goals and measures); a bottom-up budget tied to the priorities and desires of individual department heads, not to the organization's mission; and wasted time and resources." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That Without Greater Strategic Clarity The Foundation Was "Unlikely To Ever Fulfill Its Mission." "Absent greater strategic clarity, the Foundation may be able to achieve some immediate tactical goals, but is unlikely to ever fulfill its mission, to maximize the President's impact, or to endure beyond the President's personal commitment or lifetime. Moreover, without such clarity, improvements in other fundamental areas (e.g., skills) will be limited or misguided." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That "The Work Of The Foundation And The President Are Intertwined In A Way That Creates Confusion At, And Undermines The Work Of The Foundation At Virtually Every Level." "The current structure of the Foundation accomplishes neither. Specifically, the organization appears to have been built around individuals, not the needs and interests of the Foundation, and it has not been reviewed or mapped against needs or interests (much less a real strategy) since the days of its inception. Moreover and significantly, the work of the Foundation and the President are intertwined in a way that creates confusion at, and undermines the work of, the Foundation at virtually every level. As a result, there is no 'central command,' functionalities are divided across offices, Foundation offices and initiatives are dangerously independent, resources are not maximized, and a couple of key managers appear to have interests that do not always align with those of the Foundation." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Observed That The Foundation Was "Loosely Linked Around The President, Comprised Of Many 'Free Agents,' And Serving, To Some Degree The Interests Of The President" Which He Deemed Inappropriate. "This organization, loosely linked around the President, comprised of many 'free agents,' and serving, to some degree, the interests of the President may have been appropriate when the Foundation was in its start-up phase, with few offices, few employees, and few major decisions. It is not, however, appropriate for an organization that operates across the globe with over 500 employees and a budget of $90 million, that is regulated at every level of government, and that depends on outside funders for sustenance." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Found That "The Foundation Has No System In Place To Ensure Equity Or Consistency In Compensation." "The Foundation has very few procedures, processes, and systems in place, and even fewer that are consistent across the organization. For example, it is missing several policies/procedures that are required by law (e.g., record retention policy). Moreover, although it has an employee manual, that manual is not comprehensive and is not distributed or followed consistently across the organization. Finally, the Foundation has no system in place to ensure equity or consistency in compensation or to allow for professional development or training, issues that a number of employees noted and/or complained about." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Observed That Managers Did Not Have The Right Experience Or Instincts To Deal With Problems, And In Addition "There Is No Established Mechanism For Catching Problems And Mistakes." "What makes this (systems) deficiency particularly problematic is that (1) the organization is legally liable for the acts of its offices and initiatives and those who run them; (2) managers in key positions have no to little experience in not-for-profit management and thus do not even possess the right instincts when faced with a problem for which there is no policy or procedure; and (3) there is no established mechanism for catching problems and mistakes." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That Managers Did Not Have A Lot Of Experience And Furthermore Had An "Anti-Compliance Attitude" Causing Employees To "Virtually [Beg] For A Stronger Whistleblower Policy And Process." "As noted above, a couple of key positions are filled with individuals who do not have a lot of managerial experience or strong managerial skills and who operate without a strategy or much oversight. As a result, these individuals do not have a clear sense of priorities or how to prioritize, or of their roles or the roles of those who report to them. Moreover, because there are so few systems, policies, and procedures, they tend to make decisions on an ad hoc basis, which are not always appropriate, in terms of the law or organizational interests. And, because the lines of authority are murky, managers tend to under-consult or over-consult with others in the organization. Finally, the anti-compliance attitude of a couple of key managers has affected not only the culture or certain decisions, but has affected the view of lower level employees who either witness less than fully compliant behavior or, even worse, are asked to participate in or condone it. (Indeed, several staff members virtually begged fro a stronger whistleblower policy and process.)" (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That "Neither The Individuals Nor The Organization Seem Committed To Planning Or 'Getting It Right' From A Strategic Or Efficiency Point Of View." "As noted above, there are some extremely committed employees who are able to react swiftly and competently to opportunities and problems. Unfortunately, that reactive approach dominates the entire organization. As one employee stated, managers and staff seem more interested in 'getting it done than getting it right.' Most troublesome, perhaps, is the fact that neither the individuals nor the organization seem committed to planning or 'getting it right' from a strategic or efficiency point of view. Without this commitment, the organization and its employees will never realize their full potential." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)

Gibson Said That It Was "Unclear Whether The President Wants The Foundation To Exist Beyond His Personal Involvement" Calling Into Question Whether It Would "Survive And Thrive Beyond His Involvement." "Because it is unclear whether the President wants the Foundation to exist beyond his personal involvement, the Foundation's leadership (that is, the Board and CEO) should address this question head-on with the President. That will require a frank discussion with the President about his desire, willingness, and appetite to move the Foundation to the next level of development. If the President concludes that he does, in fact, want the Foundation to survive and thrive beyond his involvement, then he should authorize and empower the CEO and Board to make the changes necessary for this survival." (Attachment: "Interim.Report.Nov. 10 Draft," Cheryl Mills, Email To John Podesta, "Fwd: FW: ATTY CLIENT PRIVILEGE," John Podesta Wikileaks, 11/1/11)


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