Clinton Foundation Silent on Blumenthal’s Exit Date

Emails subpoenaed by congressional committee investigating Benghazi

Sidney Blumenthal leaves the Capitol after being questioned during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial / AP
May 21, 2015

Controversial Clinton pal Sidney Blumenthal is no longer on the Clinton Foundation payroll, but it is still unclear when he left and under what circumstances.

A spokesperson for the foundation told the Washington Free Beacon that Blumenthal "hasn’t worked here in a while," but did not confirm when he left or why. Blumenthal did not respond to request for comment.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Blumenthal was simultaneously working for the foundation, entities with business interests in Libya, and providing foreign policy advice to Hillary Clinton while she was at the State Department.

The congressional committee investigating the Benghazi attack subpoenaed Blumenthal on Tuesday for a closed-door deposition, which could take place as early as June 3.

According to the Times, Blumenthal sent Clinton numerous emails with advice on Libya policy, which she then passed on to other State Department officials. Some of the messages mentioned officials related to Blumenthal’s business interests, while others included information that seemed dubious to State Department officials.

At the time, Blumenthal was also being paid as an adviser to the Clinton Foundation, according to the Times.

Blumenthal, a former journalist who became an advisor to President Bill Clinton, used his media clout to help defend the Clintons in the 1990s. But some critics accused him of underhanded tactics. According to his long-time former friend, the late journalist Christopher Hitchens, Blumenthal shopped around false stories about Monica Lewinsky in an attempt to discredit her during the Kenneth Starr investigation.

Blumenthal’s ties to the Clintons came under new scrutiny in 2013, after his private emails advising Hillary Clinton on Libya policy were leaked by a hacker known as Guccifier.

Later that year, Blumenthal began promoting a controversial anti-Israel book written by his son, Max Blumenthal, and launched a behind-the-scenes attack campaign against the book’s critics.

The book, Goliath, compared the Israel government to Nazi Germany and painted the Jewish state as inherently racist. It was endorsed by the white supremacist David Duke’s website, and landed Max Blumenthal on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the "Top 10 Global Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Slurs."

The left-leaning columnist Eric Alterman wrote in the Nation that the book "could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed)."

In response, Sidney Blumenthal launched an attack campaign against Alterman by blasting the columnist’s credibility in a widely circulated mass email reported by BuzzFeed. He also hosted the book launch party for Goliath at his home, the Free Beacon reported.

At the time, media outlets were stonewalled by the Clinton Foundation when they asked whether Sidney Blumenthal was on the payroll. Blumenthal also fled from a Free Beacon reporter who asked whether he was being paid by the foundation.

At the time, Clinton ally Alan Dershowitz called on the Clintons to cut ties with Blumenthal if he did not distance himself from the views expressed in the book.

"In light of the long association between the Clintons and Sid Blumenthal, I hope that the Clintons ask Sid to expressly disasscoate himself from his son’s views–and if he refuses to, that they no longer work with him on any matters," Dershowitz told Breitbart News.

Hillary Clinton defended her long-time adviser on Tuesday in response to the new revelations.

"We’ve been friends for a long time," said Clinton during an event in Iowa. "He sent me e-mails I passed on in some instances. That’s part of the give and take. ... I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are."