“Scandal at Clinton Inc.” is quite a title for a story that amounts to a Bill Clinton aide taking kickbacks from shady businessmen for providing access to the former president. It doesn’t sound as if the aide in question, Doug Band, is suspected of doing anything illegal, and while he certainly comes off as, shall we say, “ethically challenged,” Alec Macgillis’s story doesn’t do much to tie Band’s mischief to former president Clinton, who’s presented as basically a victim. The Clinton who might actually be on a presidential ticket three years from now hardly figures in the story.
Am I missing something? A few throwaway lines tease more scandalous, or at least salacious, stories that Macgillis doesn’t pursue: Ron Burkle’s private plane, frequently flown by Clinton, being known by the billionaire’s employees as “Air Fuck One,” Hillary aide (and Anthony Weiner wife) Huma Abedin getting investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee to see if her work for Band’s international consulting firm, Teneo, conflicted with her work for the State Department. (The Christian Science Monitor has reported on the Abedin story here.) Band used his influence to get an apparently inflated price from the Post Office for a parcel of land his father owned, but that detail is almost lost in the piece amid all the banal insider gossip. Band didn’t get along with Obama’s re-election people last year—so bloody what?
The big story isn’t that billionaires and corporations were buying access to Bill Clinton, but what exactly they were getting, something Macgillis shows no interest in. Instead the focus is entirely on middleman, Doug Band. He’s not the story.