The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Meet Doug Band

The New Republic's senior editor Alec MacGillis has just written a masterful piece on Bill Clinton's longtime aide Doug Band, which qualifies as essential Washington reading.

One might ask why Clinton's former staffer--who started out carrying the 42nd president's bags and ended up as his closest adviser--is newsworthy, especially now that Band no longer works for his powerful mentor. But there's one clear reason: Band's complex and controversial business practices highlight the interlocking web of enterprises tied to the Clinton family, and that sprawling network will only come under more intense scrutiny should Hillary Rodham Clinton choose to pursue a 2016 presidential bid.

The deeply-researched piece lays out how Band has parlayed both his personal relationship with Clinton and his work for the Clinton Global Initiative and the Clintons' family foundation (recently renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation) into a lucrative consulting business called Teneo Holdings.

As MacGillis quotes one former White House colleague of Band's as saying, “Doug has always been reasonably commercial, let’s just say ... He was a gatekeeper who charged tolls.”

The piece chronicles not only the growth of Band's corporate advisory firm but his business relationship with Raffaello Follieri, an Italian businessman who once pledged to support Clinton's charitable work but ultimately ended up serving time in federal prison for fraud.

It also describes how when the U.S. Postal Service exercised a purchase option on a Sarasota, Fla. post office building owned by Band’s father and another family, Band personally sought to raise the price by appealing to Alan Kessler, a  Clinton ally and a member of the Postal Service Board of Governors. Kessler--who did weigh in on the matter--resigned in July 2011, after the agency's inspector general determined he had failed to uphold his duty to the Postal Service. the agency ended up paying the two families $1.06 million to buy the building, rather than the $825,000 it had originally offered.

The piece does not suggest that either of the Clintons encouraged Band's practice of offering his consulting services to corporate donors connected to CGI or the foundation. But it serves as a powerful reminder of how both of the Clintons have navigated a complicated path since leaving public service by combining charitable works with lucrative business arrangements. Their operations will be examined at an even finer level of detail should they enter the political arena once again.