ABC Investigates Hillary Clinton Placing Donor with No Experience on Key Intelligence Board

NewsBusters by Scott Whitlock | June 10, 2016 | 12:27 PM EDT

https://www.mrctv.org/embed/163321

In a refreshing twist, Good Morning America’s reporters actually committed the act of journalism on Friday, investigating Hillary Clinton. Brian Ross wondering how and why the then-Secretary of State placed a wealthy donor on a sensitive, key intelligence board.

In a story exclusive to ABC, Ross explained, “The newly released State Department e-mails being made public here this morning reveal how under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a major donor to the Clinton Foundation was put on a sensitive government security advisory board, even though he had no known experience in the area.”

It seems that Rajiv Fernando, a commodities broker, was placed on the International Security Advisory Board by a top Clinton aide, despite knowing nothing about national security. Ross added, “What he was known for before and after his appointment was raising and giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns and as much as $250,000 to the Clinton foundation.”

The report continued:

BRIAN ROSS: the new set of State Department e-mails, obtained after a lawsuit brought by Citizens United, reveals the role of Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills in appointing the big donor with a senior career official using the shorthand S, a common reference to Secretary Clinton. “The true answer is simply that S staff Cheryl Mills added him. Raj was not on the list sent to S. He was added at their insistence.”

An online version of the Ross story went into more detail on Fernando’s connections to the Clintons and Democrats:

Fernando’s history of campaign giving dated back at least to 2003 and was prolific — and almost exclusively to Democrats. He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for president, giving maximum contributions to her campaign, and to HillPAC, in 2007 and 2008. He also served as a fundraising bundler for Clinton, gathering more than $100,000 from others for her White House bid. After Barack Obama bested Clinton for the 2008 nomination, Fernando became a major fundraiser for the Obama campaign. Prior to his State Department appointment, Fernando had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that indirectly helped Hillary Clinton retire her lingering 2008 campaign debts by renting her campaign email list.

Ross and ABC last reported on this for the September 4, 2012 World News, saying, “Raj Fernando. He was named to the prestigious International Security Advisory Board but resigned last year, shortly after ABC News asked about his qualifications to be on the board.”

ABC should be commended for covering this story. Hopefully, the network will follow-up and not take almost four years to do so. CBS and NBC also have an obligation to investigate.

A transcript is below:

GMA
6/10/16
7:08

AMY ROBACH: We have even more now on the race for the White House. A new batch of Clinton e-mails out this morning is raising questions about a donor to the Clinton Foundation and how he ended up on a government intelligence advisory board. ABC’s Brian Ross is here with more on that story. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN ROSS: Good morning, Amy. The newly released State Department e-mails being made public here this morning reveal how under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a major donor to the Clinton Foundation was put on a sensitive government security advisory board, even though he had no known experience in the area. Members of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board include some of the country’s most prominent figures on American nuclear strategy, all with top secret clearances. But in 2011, the Clinton State Department also added this man, Rajiv Fernando, a commodities broker with no known connection to the national security world.

BILL CLINTON:  I’d like to invite to the stage Rajiv Fernando.

ROSS: What he was known for before and after his appointment was raising and giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns and as much as $250,000 to the Clinton foundation. [Talking to Fernando in 2012] ABC News, do you have just a second to talk? When we approached Fernando at the 2012 Democratic convention—  How did you get appointed to that forward? Can you talk about that?

RAJIV FERNANDO: How do you know my name out of curiosity?

ROSS: He became upset and we were threatened with arrest.

MAN: You’ll be arrested.

ROSS: I’ll be arrested. For asking questions of this man? [Back to 2016 segment.] But now the new set of State Department e-mails, obtained after a lawsuit brought by Citizens United, reveals the role of Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills in appointing the big donor with a senior career official using the shorthand S, a common reference to Secretary Clinton. “The true answer is simply that S staff Cheryl Mills added him. Raj was not on the list sent to S. He was added at their insistence.”

HILLARY CLINTON [In 2009]: I don’t know who will be giving money.

ROSS: At her confirmation hearing, Clinton vowed donors would not get special treatment.

CLINTON: That will not influence. It will not be in the atmosphere.

ROSS: The new Clinton e-mails also show that when ABC began asking questions about the appointment of Fernando in 2011, top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills asked the press officer to stall for 24 hours. The very next day, Fernando submitted his resignation from the prestigious board. The Clinton campaign declined to comment on our story and the State Department said it’s not unusual for the Secretary’s chief of staff to play a role. As for Fernando he has continued to raise big dollars for the Clinton campaign and has given more than a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, in fact he’ll be one of her super delegates at next month’s convention, Amy.

 

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