Bill Clinton Praises Doug Band

Image: Bill Clinton Praises Doug Band

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 03:16 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Former President Bill Clinton defended his former longtime counsel and aide Doug Band Tuesday.

"I'm very grateful for the role that he played when [the Clinton Global Initiative] started out and I wish him well," the 42nd president told CBS News' Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell Tuesday, speaking from the CGI's annual meeting in New York.

Clinton credited Band, who began working as his personal aide in 2000, with helping to create CGI, the Clinton Global Initiative. CGI is a program of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

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Band helped to raise "virtually 100 percent" of the money made during CGI's early years, Clinton said. To date, Band’s brainchild has helped raise $74 billion for global charities, including efforts to reduce the spread of AIDS, alleviate poverty and support sustainable development programs around the globe.

Band came under fire this week after a lengthy article was published in The New Republic, complaining that the former Clinton aide went on to a successful career after his time at the Clinton Foundation with his firm Teneo Holdings, a global consulting and investment firm.

Clinton said he had not yet read the article, but suggested there was nothing that concerned him about Band’s change from the Foundation to the private sector.

"He was making a transition. He was starting a business. There's nothing wrong with him starting a business with people he met working for me," he said. "That's the only way he could have ever met people he could do business with. He went to work for me when he was in his early 20s and still a law student."

Band remains on CGI's advisory board but he went off the payroll in 2011 to focus on Teneo, something Clinton says was "necessary."

"I think it was necessary and I believe he came to see it was necessary to make a clean break, because his business grew more quickly than I think even he thought it would," Clinton told CBS News. "I think the way it worked out is fine, including my not being involved in the business... it's easier for me to recommend them if everybody knows I don't get any money. And I don't take that, but there's nothing wrong with starting a business and trying to make something happen."

As the key architect of the former President's post-presidential life, Band helped Clinton become one the most influential political figure of modern times.

Clinton acknowledged his role, telling The New York Times recently, "I couldn’t have accomplished half of what I have in my post-presidency without Doug Band."

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