A top Clinton Foundation official pressed the State Department for large donors to the organization to get seats at an official lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state, recently released emails from 2010 show, ABC News reports.
The emails, which were released as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United, gives yet another look at direct contact between the foundation and Clinton’s top aides while she was secretary of state.
A number of emails show an ongoing discussion between Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin and top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band over attempts to get the donors, who gave between half a million dollars and $25 million to the foundation, invitations to attend the lunch and obtain prominent seating places at it.
"Hillary Clinton's senior staff at the State Department routinely worked with the Clinton Foundation to reward big donors with special access and favors for four years," Citizens United president David Bossie said in a statement.
Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin dismissed the emails as politically motivated, telling ABC News that "Citizens United is a right-wing group that's been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and, once again, is trying to make something out of nothing."
The donors who allegedly were seeking the favor either did not respond to ABC News or said they were not there, while a Clinton Foundation spokesman said the emails "aren't related to the Clinton Foundation’s work improving lives around the world."
The latest revelations come just a few days after The Hill reported that government watchdog groups, which are largely sympathetic to Democratic Party priorities, have warned of potentially "very serious" conflicts of interest if the Clinton Foundation does not take more serious steps to eliminate any perception that its donors could obtain undue access to a White House with Clinton as president.
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