How to get a job in Clinton's world
Hacked Podesta emails reveal flattery, insider connections for job seekers.
By Andrew Restuccia <http://www.politico.com/staff/andrew-restuccia>
10/14/16 05:26 AM EDT
If elected, Hillary Clinton would have 4,000 political appointments to dole
out as president.
If you're wondering how to get a job in a Hillary Clinton White House, start
by reading campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails.
>From a billionaire plugging a federal official for a cabinet appointment to
Podesta himself plugging the daughter of a friend for an internship, the
trove of Podestas correspondence posted by WikiLeaks is a portrait of
Washington insiderism, showing powerful people turning into supplicants
using connections and flattery.
Story Continued Below
A new president has 4,000 political appointments to dole out. And as Podesta
went from running a think tank to serving as a counselor to Barack Obama to
joining the Clinton campaign, everybody from high-ranking officials to
college undergraduates jockeyed to get themselves or their friends onto his
One tip: Have someone well-connected float your name.
CNN founder Ted Turner wrote
<https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3129> to Podesta in 2008 to
recommend John Berry, a Clinton administration Interior official, for
Interior Secretary. Turner suggested that as the nations largest private
landowner, he was qualified to weigh in on the choice. One of Podesta's
aides responded, saying, "John asked me to email you back and say he's a big
Berry fan too, and he's in the mix
That wasnt enough to get Berry the cabinet appointment, but all ended well
for him. Hes now the U.S. ambassador to Australia.
Leveraging your connections can work even if youre not at the
cabinet-secretary level. Reggie Govan, chief counsel at the Federal Aviation
Administration, emailed <https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/5373>
Podesta on behalf of his godson, an undergraduate at Yale seeking a job on
the campaign. "His keen interest and experience in behavioral sciences,
data/marketing and finance offsets his lack of prior political experience,"
he wrote. Podesta responded the next day, copying the proper contacts on the
In 2014 Podesta himself appeared to
<https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/2119> put in a good word with
his former Center for American Progress colleagues on behalf of the daughter
of a friend who had recently applied to an internship at the think tank. She
ended up getting the internship, according to the email.
Another common tactic: Flattery.
"Congrats on doing an amazing job for Barack Obama during the last year or
so. The Dems will be in much better shape as we head into the 2016 race
because of your efforts, Connecticut attorney Christine Niedermeier wrote
in an email <https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/4174> to Podesta
last year. She went on to helpfully list four different Clinton campaign
jobs she would be suited for.
Still, having connections doesnt necessarily get you a lot of help from
Podesta. When Jim Lyons, the husband of long-time Barack Obama and Clinton
aide Jennifer Palmieri, asked
<https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/5713> Podesta if he could
help with Obama's presidential transition operation in 2008, Podesta
forwarded the email to some of the campaign's aides and asked simply, "Want
Podesta has been on both sides of this game. As president of the Center for
American Progress before he joined the Obama administration, he told
<https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/602> Obama campaign aides
they should consider billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer for Energy
secretary, a contention he repeated
26-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html?tid=a_inl> again in Obama's second
term. Steyer, who formally endorsed Clinton in June, is now running a super
PAC that is trying to make climate change a major issue in the election.
In the same 2008 email chain in which he mentioned Steyer, Podesta poo-pooed
some of the names that Obama's aides had come up with for Energy secretary.
One of the names was Jonathan Pershing, who at that time had experience
working at the State Department and the International Energy Agency.
Pershing should be an assistant secretary at the Energy Department, "not
higher," Podesta wrote. Pershing went on to serve in a top role at the
Energy Department, and he is now the State Department's special envoy for
Not everyone goes directly to Podesta. The emails
<https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/4647> describe how an aide to
liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
<https://cd.politicopro.com/people/140963> delivered a list of potential
nominees to Dan Schwerin, a speechwriter, following up on an earlier meeting
between Clinton and Warren.
Some go higher up the chain. An earlier release of Clintons own emails
contained a 2012 exchange with then-Commodity Futures Trading Commission
head Gary Gensler. If we might be able to find a moment to chat, I would
love to share my thoughts on possible new challenges and opportunities
within the Administration, he wrote. Apparently getting no response, he
sent more emails. Then he learned she had fallen and suffered a concussion.
My mom always recommended a bit of chicken noodle soup, the former Goldman
Sachs banker wrote. And please don't worry about connecting with me on the
work matters until you are really up to it.
Gensler is now chief financial officer of Clintons campaign.
The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of individual emails
released by WikiLeaks, and it has called the organization, "nothing but a
propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Putin's dirty
work to help elect Donald Trump."
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