As I mentioned yesterday, New Year's Eve was the deadline for the latest batch of Hillary Clinton's emails to be released by the State Department. While they fell 2,000 pages short of their court-ordered goal of 43,000 for the year, there are still a lot of interesting stories in what we did get yesterday.
We have already learned from previous email batches that Hillary had very close ties to Sidney Blumenthal. This latest group, however, show just how much the Secretary tried to conceal this relationship from others. Per Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner:
For example, after Blumenthal emailed her a Foreign Policy story in March 2010 about Gen. David Petraeus and prefaced the article with a personal note, Clinton asked an aide to print five copies of the email "but w/o heading from Sid."
Clinton has tried in the past to dismiss Blumenthal's input as unsolicited advice, but the more of these revelations we see, the further this excuse crumbles. If Herself didn't value his input, she would have told him to get lost at some point, even if not in those exact words, at some point. That's how she operates.
We can also see evidence of how close the Clinton Foundation was tied into her work at the Department. From the same article:
Another email indicated State Department staff members were heavily involved in a 2011 Clinton Global Initiative event. The message, written in Sept. 2011 and forwarded to Clinton's personal email address, showed 10 top State Department officials were planning to participate in the event in some capacity.
That included a dinner hosted jointly by the Clinton charity and Goldman Sachs, a longtime Clinton campaign donor.
It shouldn't surprise anyone at this point that the Clinton Foundation exists to promote both Bill and Hillary's interests and careers, but emails like this one show just how deeply intermingled her work with the Foundation was with her work as Secretary. That is a scandal in and of itself even without the emails.
The most interesting revelation from these emails, though, is Herself's secret connection to Obamacare. We all know about how the failure that was Hillarycare paved the way for future efforts at socializing medicine, of which Obamacare is currently chief. However, an email from adviser Neera Tanden to Secretary Clinton in May of 2010 reveals that Hillary played a role in the development of the Affordable Care Act. From Philip Klein:
Tanden informed Clinton that she was pitching New York Times healthcare reporter Robert Pear on the idea that many elements of Obamacare could be traced back to proposals originating with Clinton.
Tanden wrote, "The one question I wanted to ask you is about your idea on using FEHBP as a kind of a public option. I know you gave that to Rahm last August, and then mysteriously, it was in the Senate Finance package like a month later."
In this email Tanden is suggesting that an alternative to the public option originated with Clinton, and went through Emanuel, and into the final bill in order to secure passage. Emanuel, during the 1990s, served as a senior adviser to President Clinton.
The provision that Tanden appears to be referring to is one that's now called the multi-state plan program. Under the program, the Office of Personnel Management, which runs the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), contracts with private health insurers in each state to sponsor plans.
"None of us had ever discussed it in the policy process of the WH and I didn't hear of it in the Hill, so my assumption is that Rahm gave them your idea as a substitute for the public plan, which didn't have the votes," Tanden wrote to Clinton in the email sent roughly two months after Obamacare's final passage. "I know that was all top secret, but I'm wondering if I should give Robert some hint of this only because it was a linchpin to moving the bill. I would get him sniffing around on it, so he'd write it more as his own reporting discovery (hopefully). i know institutionally it was hard for Rahm to be pitching public plan substitutes."
This email provides concrete evidence that Hillary Clinton played a role in crafting Obamacare. It's the sort of information that could be enormously useful in proving that her history of making gigantic mistakes during her time with the Obama administration spans both foreign and domestic policy. Obamacare is still an albatross, and the more we can tie it around her neck, the better.
In all, though, there isn't really anything new in this latest batch of emails, just more information on problems we already knew existed. What we have here is just more concrete evidence of things we already suspected to be true. They are still useful for us as we head into the 2016 election season, but there's nothing truly earth-shattering. With that said, we should still make sure Congress is doing its due diligence on the matter, and we should also make sure the Republican candidates don't let all of this ammunition go to waste.