A Democratic foreign policy adviser wrote in a new book that Bill and Hillary Clinton were guilty of nepotism, dishonesty and vindictiveness nearly two decades ago when she served as their adviser on Irish issues.
Trina Vargo, who founded the US-Ireland Alliance, a DC-based nonprofit, spent years advising Sen Ted. Kennedy and the Clinton and Obama administrations on Northern Ireland.
In her new book, “Shenanigans: the US-Ireland Relationship in Uncertain Times,” she claimed the Clintons retaliated when she didn’t deliver a scholarship so Chelsea Clinton’s boyfriend could attend college in Ireland, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton later cut funding for the scholarship program Vargo had set up, largely funded by the State Department and named after George Mitchell, a former senator who helped broker the Good Friday peace accord with Northern Ireland, she charged.
The program sent 12 US students to study in Ireland and Northern Ireland every year.
Vargo wrote that in November 2000, Mitchell told her that Bill Clinton had phoned him to say he was “very unhappy” that Chelsea’s boyfriend had not been shortlisted from roughly 200 candidates despite Bubba’s recommendation, according to the report.
“It would be hard to believe that the timing of the president’s call wasn’t aimed at influencing us to make him a finalist,” Vargo wrote.
The boyfriend never made the shortlist, which Vargo said made her a target of the powerful couple.
Later, in 2012, Hillary Clinton’s State Department cut its annual $500,000 contribution to the Mitchell scholarship, citing budgetary measures.
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But “the elimination of funding … was not about the money,” Vargo wrote, claiming it was payback for the scholarship and for her endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008.
Her book was being released in the run-up to the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, an effort to maximize publicity, and attempts to cast a shadow on the Clintons’ roles in the peace process, one of the few areas of their legacy that to date had not been tarnished by controversy.
Angel Urena and Nick Merrill, spokespersons for the Clintons, repudiated Vargo’s claims.
“Their legacy there is something they are incredibly proud of and one that is well documented. These accusations are baseless and patently false.”
They said Clinton’s successor at State, John Kerry, also cut funding.
“Both [were] the product of a constant battle with a Republican Congress to fight for diplomatic and development dollars, there is nothing more to it than that,” they told the paper.
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