On December 5, 2011, Neil McCabe published a piece in Human Events, titled, “Claim: Clinton Collected $50K Per Month From MF Global,” which said that controversial Clinton-backed public relations and consulting firm Teneo had been paid $50,000 a month by former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine to “improve his image and to enhance his connections with Clinton’s political family” months before the firm went bankrupt.
MF Global’s bankruptcy was a result of gross mismanagement and Corzine himself narrowly avoided prosecution for financial fraud when it was revealed that MF Global customer money had at one point gone missing during the company’s final days. No criminal charges were filed, but MF Global paid $132 million earlier this year in a civil settlement with MF Global customers.
Teneo’s seemingly seedy behavior has long been a problem for the Clintons, and its alleged involvement in the MF Global scandal rippled across Clinton world.
As revealed by an email chain published by Wikileaks, the Teneo-MF Global story was emailed to Chelsea Clinton the same day as publication, December 5, 2011.
Responding a day later, Chelsea told those in the email chain, which apparently included Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, that this was not the first time Teneo had been a problem:
John, Bruce, Terry, Victoria, Jennifer – fyi re: below. I’ve asked that it make my father’s clips (it wld historically not as I understand it).
On another note, I was in London Sunday and did a Foundation event Sunday evening and two people separately voiced concerns directly to me about Teneo, neither of whom I know well (one of whom is a friend of one of Marc’s old colleagues, ie we know only tangentially) and Sara Latham (whom Victoria and Jennifer, I do know well – she worked for my Dad in the WH and lives in London) voiced serious concerns to Bari – including telling her Ilya has called Members of the House and Members of Parliament, “on behalf of President Clinton,” for Teneo clients (eg for Andrew Liveris and Dow who’s coming this month to London), without my father’s knowledge and inelegantly and ineffectually at best and at worse has now precipitating people in London making comparisons between my father and Tony Blair’s profit motivations. Which would horrify my father.
Sara also told Bari she started working for Teneo, as Teneo, more than a year ago and then recently stopped because she was so upset, partly because of what Doug and Declan asked her to do/ pretend was happening for their clients at Davos- that’s all I know. I am hoping to connect directly with Sara this week, if only to connect her belatedly into Victoria and Jennifer. I’m speaking at an innovations in governance conference today here in Oxford and flying back later this afternoon. I will raise all of this and more with my father this evening. Wanted to update you all in the meanwhile about my augmented concerns post London and the below.
“Doug and Declan” are Doug Band and Declan Kelly, founding members of Teneo and longtime associates of the Clinton family.
Chelsea Clinton is telling those on the thread in response to a press clip of the Human Events piece that she has been told by other people that Teneo is trading on her father’s name for dubious purposes.
In response to Chelsea’s email, Podesta emailed Clinton lawyer Cheryl Mills saying “We need to move to a resolution of this quickly.”
Mills responded with a document that restructured Teneo, which Mills explained, “essentially creates a full-time Personal office of the President headed by a new CEO/COS. That person — who is unaffiliated with any of the entities or Teneo — b/cs the decisionmaker on the allocation of the President’s time and management and implementation of the President’s desires with respect to each activity. Doug and Justin advise that person but do not make final decisions or have final implementation authority on any matters – which is consistent with what Doug has said he seeks – the ability to recommend but for others to be accountable for making the ultimate decisions.”
While Chelsea was concerned with Teneo using Bill Clinton, other evidence demonstrates it was a two-way street. Teneo helped Bill Clinton make millions of dollars from speeches with corporations. They also helped raised large amounts of money for the Clinton Foundation and employed other associates of the Clintons.
Like most Clinton operations, it’s never quite clear where the public service ends and the private gains begin.