Bill Clinton Aide Said to Worry About Conflicts at Foundation

  • WikiLeaks releases alleged e-mail on prospect of new rules
  • ‘Too many rules’ could unearth ‘some real serious conflicts’

Former President Bill Clinton speaks on Sept. 21, 2016, in New York City.

An aide to Bill Clinton worried that the former president would be found to have serious conflicts of interest if the Clinton Foundation adopted stricter operating guidelines, according to an alleged e-mail posted by WikiLeaks.

“WJC may have some real serious conflicts if we start to make too many rules,” Justin Cooper, an adviser to Clinton after he left the White House, purportedly wrote, using former President William Jefferson Clinton’s initials. “It may be time to update some procedures but we can not ignore the nexus of WJC’s life.”

The note posted Friday on WikiLeaks is among more than 47,000 alleged e-mails released so far from the personal account of John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The campaign has blamed the Russian government for hacking attacks on Democratic organizations and individuals in an effort to sway the election, while cautioning that some of the documents may be bogus or doctored.

Spokesmen for the Clinton Foundation and the former president declined to comment. An attorney for Cooper didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cooper’s purported e-mail was dated Nov. 17, 2011. It was a response to a message from Doug Band, another longtime Clinton aide, that was previously disclosed. Angered by Chelsea Clinton’s efforts to rein in his own business dealings, Band recounted how he steered his company’s corporate clients to give to the Clinton Foundation while also arranging lucrative paid speeches and consulting jobs for “Bill Clinton, Inc.”

Outside Review

Chelsea Clinton -- who Band in one alleged e-mail compared to a “spoiled brat kid” -- recruited an outside law firm to review the Clinton Foundation’s governance and procedures.

Cooper played a supporting role in this year’s debate over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. He helped maintain the server, and answered questions about it at length before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in September. Other witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Republican Donald J. Trump has attacked the Clinton Foundation for accepting money from foreign governments and said it was used by Bill and Hillary Clinton as a “pay-for-play” operation. Hillary Clinton has said the foundation did “a lot of life-saving work. I’m proud of the work that my husband started.”

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