Watchdog Asks Feds to Probe Clinton Advocacy for Family Friend’s Company

Hillary Clinton / AP

A group led by a former federal prosecutor is asking authorities to investigate allegations that then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton used her position to advance a family friend’s business interests.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) will file a complaint on Monday asking the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to probe Clinton’s efforts to help a friend of her son-in-law, Chelsea Clinton’s husband Mark Mezvinsky, to navigate regulations on a friend’s offshore mining company.

"Hey bud," wrote Harry Siklas, an investor in deep-sea mining firm Neptune Minerals, in an email to Mezvinsky. "I need a contact in Hillary’s office: someone my friend Josh (and I perhaps) can reach out via email or phone to discuss mining and the current legal issues and regulations."

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The State Department released that message in its latest batch of Clinton’s emails, which were stored on a private email server that shielded them from public scrutiny before a federal judge ordered their release.

Another email released in that batch showed that Clinton followed up on Mezvinsky’s request. "Could have someone follow up on this request which was forwarded to me?" she asked a deputy at State. "I’ll get on it," the official replied.

FACT, which is led by former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, says that the exchange shows that Clinton abused her position to advance the business interests of those in her family’s inner circle, Time reports.

"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 group says in the complaint first obtained by TIME. […]

FACT alleges that the emails appear to show Clinton gave preferential treatment to her son-in-law by following up on the request to give Neptune Minerals an audience with government officials. The emails do not show whether Siklas or anyone at Neptune Minerals succeeded in meeting with Clinton or any other State Department officials. Siklas, the investor who made the request, was also an employee of Goldman Sachs at the time. Goldman Sachs employees were major donors to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

"We request a full investigation into these communications and a determination of whether any laws were broken," FACT said in the complaint. Matt Whitaker, the former attorney general of the southern district of Iowa appointed under President George Bush and executive director of FACT said an investigation would help show whether Clinton’s office helped other companies gain similar government access.