The Clintons were back in the news last week, with word coming that Hillary had been appointed chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast, and reports that Chelsea raked in a cool $9 million as a board member of IAC, the internet investment firm. More good news for the Clintons arrived with a Washington Post report that U.S. Attorney John Huber had ended his feckless investigation into the Clinton Foundation and Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton will be a figurehead at the university and her daughter is no expert in the kind of high-tech finance that lit a fire under IAC’s stock. But the moves show that a few powerful players in the Democratic ecosystem continue to put chips on the family. The question is why.
Chelsea’s windfall—$8.95 million in IAC stock and a $50,000 annual retainer—is courtesy of IAC Chairman Barry Diller, a Democratic Party megadonor and longtime Clinton friend. National Review reports IAC’s unintentionally hilarious notice advising the SEC that Chelsea was hired for “her broad public policy experience and keen intellectual acumen, which… bring a fresh and youthful perspective to IAC’s businesses and initiatives.”
Mrs. Clinton’s Belfast appointment bears the fingerprints of Declan Kelly, chairman and CEO of the Teneo advisory firm. Students of the Clinton power structure will recognize Kelly and Teneo. The firm carved an important role in efforts to advance the Clintons’ ambitions.
Kelly, Ireland-born, got his big break in 2009 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton created a new position for him: Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. Prior to that, Kelly was a public-relations executive and Clinton fundraiser. Suddenly, he was a man close to a center of power.
He made the best of it. In 2011, Kelly left the State Department and with Bill Clinton aide Doug Band, founded the Teneo consulting firm, a kind of private-enterprise satellite to the then-lucrative Clinton Foundation. Kelly and Band populated Teneo with numerous senior members of the Clinton tribe, including the former president himself, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and Clinton email server guru Justin Cooper. Abedin got in particular Teneo trouble when reports emerged that she had been collecting paychecks from the firm while also serving as a top aide to Mrs. Clinton at the State Department. You can read more from Judicial Watch about the Clintons, Abedin and Teneo here and here.
At Teneo, business boomed. CEOs flocked to the company. Last year, Teneo sold a majority stake in the firm for more than $350 million. Kelly profited handsomely and remains in charge.
Kelly frequently accompanied Mrs. Clinton to Ireland and has kept a hand in Northern Ireland affairs, including an active presence at Queen’s University. He created a mentorship program that brings students from Northern Ireland to the U.S. for business experience. In 2017, he launched the Declan Kelly Leadership Lecture at Queen’s. It’s now known as the Declan Kelly Teneo Leadership Lecture. A grateful university awarded him an honorary professorship in 2017. Mrs. Clinton received one in 2018.
Now she is chancellor. The position is unpaid, but prestigious. She will preside at graduation ceremonies and act as “an ambassador for the university abroad,” the BBC reported.
Conventional wisdom says the Clintons are done with electoral politics. Bill Clinton is a ghostly presence on the political stage. Hillary Clinton insists her days of running for public office are behind her. And Chelsea Clinton put a stop to recent speculation about her own run for office, saying it wasn’t going to happen. But Barry Diller and Declan Kelly—two shrewd businessmen with ties to the Democratic establishment—are hedging that bet, putting a few chips down to keep the Clintons in play.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips: email@example.com
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