Clinton National Campaign Chairman John Podesta reportedly has “serious questions” about the integrity of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, but there are also significant ethical issues concerning Podesta himself.
The Hill reported Monday that an anonymous source within Linick’s office claimed an “anti-Clinton” bias in the IG’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private home-brew email server.
The accusation prompted Podesta to say “this person’s account is highly troubling, and is cause to ask serious questions about the independence of this office.”
An OIG official strongly disputed the source’s account. “Partisan politics play no role in OIG’s work,” Linick’s spokesman told The Hill.
The IGs are presidentially appointed investigators and auditors whose sole job is to ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. Their independence is reinforced by the fact that while they are appointed by the president, they report to Congress.
There was no permanent IG at the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as America’s chief diplomat. Nevetheless, Podesta’s line of reasoning seems odd considering the appearance of his own apparent improprieties.
Issue One: Why did Podesta accept at least $87,000 in consulting fees from a liberal fat cat whose former company conducted illegal medical tests that killed five human beings and resulted in four of the firm’s most senior executives going to jail?
The liberal fat cat is Swiss billionaire Hans Wyss. Podesta listed the consulting fees as what he was paid by the HJW Foundation, which is one of Wyss’ private non-profits. Podesta reported the income on his 2013 financial disclosure statement. Podesta became a senior advisor to President Barack Obama shortly after filing the disclosure statement.
Podesta has never publicly explained why he worked for Wyss.
Issue Two: Did Podesta have a financial and environmental policy conflict of interest while serving in the Obama White House as a result of his relationship to Wyss? As The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Richard Pollock reported, Podesta was a chief architect of the Obama policy to exempt millions of Arctic Circle lands from oil and gas exploration.
“Shielding public lands from oil and gas drilling also is one of the main occupations of Hansjorg Wyss, a mysterious Swiss billionaire who personally hired Podesta as a ‘consultant’ in 2013 just before he entered the White House, according to his White House disclosure form,” Pollock reported Jan. 29, 2015.
Podesta has never answered questions about what role, if any, Wyss’ environmental views and interests influenced the advice he gave the president.
Issue Three: Podesta was Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton during the final two years of his White House tenure, including the concluding days when deliberations took place regarding presidential pardons. The most controversial of the Clinton pardons was that of Marc Rich.
Rich was wanted on federal charges that he bought $200 million worth of Iranian oil while 53 Americans were being held hostage by the radical Muslim regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. Rich’s former wife made a timely contribution of $450,000 to the Clinton Presidential Library fund just before the pardon.
Rich had “made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself,” according to the New York Post.
Rich died in 2013, but many of his foreign associates have been generous Clinton supporters in the years since the pardon.
Podesta has never answered questions about his role, if any, in the Rich pardon.
This report, by Mark Tapscott, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.