Bill Clinton Defends Ex-Aide Doug Band Against Accusations Of Insider Influence-Peddling

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Former President Bill Clinton came to the defense Tuesday of his former right-hand man who used connections with the onetime commader-in-chief to start a high-priced consulting firm.

According to an investigative article in The New Republic, Doug Band served as so-called “body man” during Clinton’s presidency. That meant he was the person who oversaw most of Clinton’s personal details, such as carrying luggage, making sure there was always a pen around, or a Diet Coke, and keeping the chronically late Clinton as close to meeting a schedule as possible.

But Band also came up with the idea for the Clinton Global Initiative, the massively successful philanthropic organization run by the former president. And he became Clinton’s top fundraiser once the president was out of office.

“The most important thing about Doug is that he sort of took control of President Clinton’s career at a moment when he was dropping from about sixty percent [favorability] to thirty-nine percent,” former Clinton advider Paul Begala told The New Republic.

In 2011, along with an Irish businessman named Declan Kelly, Band (pictured) founded Teneo, a corporate consulting firm whose main product appears to be access to Clinton, via Doug Band.

The firm is reported to charge clients as much as $250,000 per month.

“Band’s pitch to clients was that he was 'able to fly around [with Clinton] and decide who flies around with him. ... The whole thing is resting on his access,'"  a source close to Clinton described to The New Republic.

Many of Teneo’s clients also became donors to CGI, including such mega-corporations as Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, UBS Americas, and Standard Chartered, creating concern among the Clinton inner circle that the apparent conflict of interest could taint the foundation’s philanthropic efforts.

The New York Times reported that Chelsea Clinton played a role in forcing Band out of the foundation. But her father the former president remained staunchly behind his onetime aide in an interview with CBS News.

“"There's nothing wrong with him starting a business with people he met working for me,” said Clinton. “That’s the only way he could have ever met people he could do business with.”

SOURCES: The Atlantic Wire, The New Republic, New York Times