NYT: Blumenthal Lobbied Sec. Clinton on Behalf of Businessmen with Interests in Libya

Sidney Blumenthal / Wikimedia Commons

After being barred from a job at the State Department by the White House, Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal continued to exert influence over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reported Monday.

Blumenthal sent Clinton memos on Libya that he had received from associates with a financial interest in the country. These "often unreliable" memos were warmly received by Clinton, who forwarded them to U.S. diplomats. As this relationship was ongoing, Blumenthal was employed by the Clinton Foundation and received consulting fees from two more groups in the Clinton orbit, American Bridge and Media Matters for America.

Discussing the Blumenthal story with Times reporter Michael Schmidt, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough noted that "there is always a dollar sign attached somewhere" when Hillary Clinton is in the news

Clinton has most recently been in the news thanks to the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, which asserts that foreign business interests lobbied for favors and access to the State Department by donating large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation.

Schmidt noted that Clinton did not disclose the source of her information to others in the department besides her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan.

"I don't think [U.S. ambassador] Chris Stevens, who is in Libya getting these e-mails that say ‘Hey, this coming from the Secretary of State,’ knew they were coming from Sidney Blumenthal," Schmidt said, "because they were essentially giving him anonymity as they were forwarding his information along.

Blumenthal has been subpoenaed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) to answer questions about his Libyan connections before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.