Could this be the charge that finally sticks?
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing increasing scrutiny after reports surfaced last week that she intervened in a request forwarded by her son-in-law on behalf of a deep-sea mining firm to meet with her or other State Department officials, according to the recently released Clinton emails.
Now, an independent watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), has announced its plan to file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) today.
“As evidenced from her recently released emails, it appears that then Secretary Hillary Clinton gave a private company special access to the State Department based upon the company’s relationships with Secretary Clinton’s family members and donors to the Clinton Foundation,” the FACT complaint states.
According to the emails, mining company Neptune Minerals was concerned about pending legislation that would affect oil, gas and minerals exploration and was eager for meetings with Clinton or other top State Department leadership.
So one of the company’s major investors, Harry Siklas, used Clinton’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky, to put in the request.
Siklas and Mezvinsky were former coworkers at Goldman Sachs.
In late 2012, Siklas wrote to Mezvinsky asking for help getting contacts at the State Department, and expressing an eventual wish to “get in front of the secretary herself.”
Aside from having a relationship with Mezvinsky, Siklas had contributed $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 unsuccessful presidential bid. And while Siklas was at Goldman Sachs, the company donated millions to the Clinton Foundation.
Federal ethics guidelines warn government employees to “not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.” But when Mezvinsky forwarded the request from Silas, Clinton demanded her staff begin work on it.
Clinton relayed a copy of the investor’s email to Thomas Nides, then a deputy secretary of state and now vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, a major New York financial services firm. “Could you have someone follow up on this request, which was forwarded to me?” Clinton asked Nides. He replied: “I’ll get on it.”
Clinton’s willingness to intercede as a result of her son-in-law’s involvement is the latest example of how the Clinton family’s interests cut across intersecting spheres of influence in American politics, commerce and charity.
A lawyer for an environmental group opposing deep-sea mining said Clinton’s action was “cause for concern.”
But according to FACT, it was an ethics violation, plain and simple — and the proof can be found right in Clinton’s emails.
“The ethics rules simply do not permit government employees to give this type of preferential treatment,” the FACT complaint alleges.
The FACT complaint can be found here.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.