Grassley: State Dept. emails raise questions about vetting, conflicts

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032

From Press Release


State Department ethics officials were not included on recently-released emails in which top Clinton aides debated potential conflicts that former President Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements may have posed for Hillary Clinton in her role as the nation’s top diplomat.  In some emails, Bill Clinton aides and State Department officials agree to direct speaking fees to the Clinton Foundation in an attempt to mitigate any conflict concerns.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is asking the State Department about its agency ethics official’s involvement in the potential speech and consulting vetting process.

Prior to Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State, the Clintons and their attorney, David Kendall, pledged that they would submit proposed paid speeches and consulting arrangements to the State Department’s ethics official to avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest. However, while senior State Department officials were contacted about former President Clinton’s possible speaking engagements in North Korea and the Congo, no ethics official was listed on the emails.

“It appears that the pattern of conduct for reviewing matters for approval may have excluded the agency ethics official.  If that is the case, the failure to involve the relevant ethics officials directly conflicts with the representations made to Congress and the public that the ethics official would be involved,” Grassley said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Grassley is seeking information about the role of the Department’s designated ethics official in reviewing former President Clinton’s potential speaking and consulting arrangements.

Full text of Grassley’s letter follows. Here is the letter’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B.