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Three top President Obama appointees to the Export-Import Bank were negotiating to join Teneo, the Clinton-connected consulting firm, at the same time a Teneo client was lining up the largest subsidy Ex-Im has ever given out, emails reveal.

Ex-Im emails, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also show Ex-Im officials asking (and occasionally obtaining) favors from Teneo co-founder Doug Band in his roles at the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.

The emails, released by Ex-Im in response to a FOIA request made by MapLight reporter Andrew Perez, show no evidence of an explicit quid pro quo, and there’s no reason to posit one. Instead, the emails reveal the intimate entanglement of the powerful in government, industry and the nonprofit world, especially in Clinton circles.

The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports through taxpayer-backed financing to foreign companies and foreign governments.

Fred Hochberg is a longtime Clinton ally and fundraiser, and Obama’s appointee to head the Export-Import Bank.

Kevin Varney was an Obama appointee at the Export-Import Bank, serving from 2009 through 2013 as senior vice president and chief of staff. He had served in the Treasury Department and the White House during the Clinton administration, and as a volunteer on Obama’s general election campaign in 2008.

John McAdams was a longtime Ex-Im executive, serving as senior vice president for Export Finance at the agency. In 2013 he became Chief Operating Officer of Ex-Im.

Bob Morin is a senior VP at Ex-Im, after having worked at the agency’s transportation division, which subsidizes aircraft and rail exports.

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Varney, McAdams and Morin spent months in the second half of 2012 negotiating with officials at Teneo to create an export-finance division inside that firm’s investment bank.

Teneo is a Clinton-connected consulting firm with an investment-bank arm.

Clinton operatives Declan Kelly and Doug Band co-founded Teneo Holdings in Obama’s first term. Bill Clinton served as the paid “honorary chairman” of Teneo while his wife was secretary of state. Teneo has employed dozens of alumni from the Clinton administration and Clinton campaigns. Teneo even employed Hillary confidante Huma Abedin while Abedin worked at the State Department.

Declan Kelly is the chairman and CEO of Teneo holdings. He was an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. When she became secretary of state, she made him economic envoy to Northern Ireland. Kelly apparently used that position to line up Irish business for Teneo, which he was forming at the time.

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Doug Band has been called Bill Clinton’s surrogate son. He’s also been called “very transactional,” and criticized by Chelsea Clinton for blending Clinton Foundation and CGI work with his Teneo consulting.

Band worked in the Clinton White House. Politico’s Rachel Bade summed up his bio nicely: “Band spent several years in the White House counsel’s office under Mills, and, at 27, became President Clinton’s personal assistant, carrying papers and keeping track of schedules. In Clinton’s post-presidency, when he helped engineer CGI, he became known as Bill’s gatekeeper, organizing meetings between the former president and world leaders.”

Michael Madden is chairman of Teneo Capital, the investment-banking arm of Teneo. Like Kelly, he’s from Ireland.

In May of 2012, Ex-Im’s Varney began emailing with Doug Band, to set up a meeting at Teneo’s offices, emails from the time indicate. On May 11, Band emailed Teneo co-founder Kelly about the meeting, telling Kelly “You two should meet as kevin [sic] and I have already.”

After the meeting, Kelly followed up, roping in Madden “who runs Teneo Capital,” to begin planning further negotiations.

The previous year, Dow Chemical (whose CEO Andrew Liveris is close with Bill Clinton) had formed a joint venture with Saudi Aramco, the oil company owned by the Saudi royal family. The venture would involve a massive petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia. By that point, Dow was a Teneo client, according to hacked emails published on Wikileaks.

One Dow investigator told federal officials, as Reuters put it, that “she was puzzled by a sharp increase in Dow’s payments to a consulting company, Teneo Holdings. In 2011, Dow paid the consulting company $2.8 million; in 2012 … its payments to Teneo increased to at least $16 million.”

In mid-2012, when Varney began talks with people at Teneo, the Dow-Aramco joint venture, named Sadara, was trying to line up Ex-Im financing for the deal. Project Finance magazine in July 2012 reported that Ex-Im had granted preliminary approval to Sadara’s purchase of U.S.-made components.

Dow’s lobbying filings show the company was lobbying on the Export-Import Bank in the second and third quarters of 2012.

On May 30, 2012, Obama signed a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im, fending off the first serious resistance the agency had faced. The next morning, Varney emailed Kelly, Band, and Madden, with a blind copy going to his Ex-Im colleague McAdams.

“The President signed Exim’s re-authorization yesterday,” Varney wrote. “With that done I’m free to move forward.” Varney asked for a meeting in New York City in early June that would include McAdams.

McAdams and Varney met with Teneo Capital’s Madden June 8, according to an email Varney sent Band that afternoon. “If you guys think there is an opportunity to work together I remain very interested and excited by the possibilities,” Varney wrote Band from his Ex-Im email account. “Thanks again for considering me. Teneo is doing some amazing work and has a great team.”

Varney and McAdams brought along Ex-Im colleague Bob Morin for a July 31 meeting, a Varney email suggests. “Assuming Bob and John agree to the concept and we are all able to agree on a compensation package the next step would be to meet within the next 30 days and make a go/no-go decision.”

Ex-Im’s board, on August 22, voted on the final commitment for the record-breaking finance deal. The board agreed to refer the deal to Congress.

The following Monday McAdams emailed Teneo’s Tom O’Connor to confirm a Lunch for the next day. In follow-up emails Ex-Im’s Morin accepted an invitation to a Teneo-hosted dinner in New York featuring Presidents Bush and Clinton as well as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

As Morin was heading up to New York for that dinner in late September, he and Michael Madden worked to line up meetings with Madden’s colleagues Kelly and Band.

A week later, Ex-Im announced final approval of the Sadara deal, the largest subsidy in the agency’s history — a $5 billion direct loan to the Dow-Aramco joint venture.

Varney wrote Band, Kelly and Madden two days after the 2012 election to accept the offer. “Bob, John and are all agreed on moving forward and the terms that we believe make it work for both us and Teneo. We’re ready to review a term sheet or letter and are prepared to move forward quickly. We hope to finalize this as soon as possible. We’re excited to make this happen and believe this is a tremendous opportunity for both us and Teneo.”

Something happened in the next three weeks, however, that ultimately led to the deal falling through. Emails suggest Bob Morin backed out by late November. By mid-January, John McAdams was offered the COO job at Ex-Im and took it. Varney then concluded he couldn’t launch Teneo’s export-credit practice without McAdams or Morin, and so he moved instead to another offer: working for Obama’s Wall Street golf buddy Robert Wolf, who had started a consulting firm called 32Advisors.

The Band-Ex-Im connections go back to 2009. Back then, Band emailed Ex-Im CEO Hochberg looking to connect Ex-Im with “a close friend of pres Clinton[ ‘]s.” Ex-Im redacted the name of the friend. Hochberg replied “sure thing” to Band, adding “anything for you….”

Hochberg forwarded this chain onto Varney, writing, “It would be terrific to do something on cgi,” meaning the Clinton Global Initiative. Varney followed up with Band, seeking ways for Ex-Im to “plug into CGI.”

In 2011, Varney wrote Band to thank him “for including Fred in the CGI program.” The next year, in April 2012, Hochberg thanked Clinton (via an email to Band) for speaking at Ex-Im’s annual conference.

Again, none of these emails suggested any quid-pro-quo. In discussing the job for Varney, McAdams, and Morin, Teneo never brought up Dow or Sadara. In discussing the favors Band did for Hochberg — putting him on stage at a CGI event and lining up Clinton to speak at the Ex-Im conference — Band never mentioned his Teneo clients.

But we know Band had a history of blending his Clinton-world work and his Teneo work.

“When they were raising money for the foundation, Doug was the one who kept the tabs and the lists and cut the deals,” one former White House colleague told the New Republic. “And Doug is very transactional.”

Chelsea Clinton complained, in an email that was published by Wikileaks, “my father was told today of explicit examples at CGI of Doug/ Teneo pushing for – and receiving – free memberships – and of multiple examples of Teneo ‘hustling’ business at CGI.”

And this much is undeniable: The revolving door and the favor economy revealed in the emails overlaps extensively with the subsidies and consulting amongst all the players involved. Even if this economy isn’t purely transactional, it’s intimately relational.

As a coda, in May 2014, Varney moved on again, going to work at Boeing.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

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