Democratic Benghazi Report Shows Large Payout to Blumenthal From Pro-Clinton Groups

Sidney Blumenthal / Wikimedia Commons
June 28, 2016

Democrats on the House Benghazi Committee mistakenly released a transcript from their report on the terrorist attack showing a six-figure payout to Hillary Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal from left-wing, pro-Clinton groups, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Blumenthal, a close Clinton friend, testified that he made $200,000 a year as a consultant for David Brock's organizations like Media Matters, Correct The Record and American Bridge. Blumenthal has been criticized for his connections with Libyan business interests while informally advising Clinton at the State Department, leading to allegations he unduly influenced her for monetary gain.

The Democrats on the select committee, as they have repeated for months, said in their report that Clinton was the victim of a partisan witch hunt. According to the transcript, Republicans took the opportunity during the subpoena of Blumenthal to ask about his work with Brock's pro-Clinton outfits and the staggering amount of money he was paid for his services.

The exchange about the groups was redacted but that was easy to get around, the Times reports:

But the redaction marks are easily erased by anyone able to use a computer’s cut-and-paste function. Once the marks are lifted, the transcript portion reveals some unflattering things for any partisans on the committee, Republican or Democrat. It shows that Republicans did, indeed, leverage their subpoena of Blumenthal for political gain, digging into his financial contracts with David Brock and forcing him to reveal the details of a lucrative financial arrangement that congressional sources would ultimately leak to Fox News.

And for Democrats, the exchange exposes once again the absurd amounts of money people in the orbit of the Clintons sometimes seem to rake in just for, well, being in the orbit of the Clintons. "I’d say it’s about $200,000 a year," Blumenthal said when asked by a committee member how much the part-time work offering up advice and ideas was worth.

"Redacted due to Chairman Gowdy’s refusal to allow release of transcript," says a footnote to the pages of thick black redaction marks. "If released, the transcript would show that Republicans asked Mr. Blumenthal questions about his relationship with Media Matters, David Brock and Correct the Record." Brock is a longtime Clinton loyalist, and Correct the Record and Media Matters are among the nonprofits he uses to attack Clinton opponents.

And how did Blumenthal get such a contract? "I have had a very long friendship with the chairman of Media Matters, whose name is David Brock, from before he founded this organization, and I have sustained that friendship. And he asked me to help provide ideas and advice to him and his organizations," Blumenthal said.