Report: Clinton State Dept Pulled Strings for Menendez in Pay-to-Play Deal with Dem Donor

December 17, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, and Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) supported a visa waiver for the daughter of a fugitive Ecuadorian banker in exchange for significant campaign contributions to the Democratic Party.

On Tuesday, NBC 4 New York reported that Menendez, with express written support from Clinton, intervened on behalf of Estefania Isaías, who was banned from traveling to the U.S. due to accusations of visa fraud. Isaías is the daughter of Roberto Isaias, who lives in Miami and is currently fighting extradition to Ecuador for banking crimes and under investigation for money laundering by the Department of Homeland Security.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Clinton requested that Isaías' visa ban be lifted so that she could work for an Obama fundraiser:

...the case involving Estefanía could prove awkward for Mrs. Clinton, who was in charge of the State Department at the time high-ranking officials overruled the agency’s ban on Ms. Isaías for immigration fraud, and whose office made calls on the matter.

Alfredo J. Balsera, the Obama fundraiser whose firm, Balsera Communications, sponsored Isaías’ visa, was featured recently in USA Today as a prominent Latino fund-raiser backing Mrs. Clinton for president in 2016.

Clinton Spokesman Nick Merrill claimed no special treatment for Isaías and that the "rigorous processes" for matters involving visa fraud were followed, "nothing more, nothing less."