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Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s Brother: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tony Rodham

(Getty)

Every aspect of Hillary Clinton’s life will be scrutinized as November’s presidential election looms. Clinton has often spoken of her family while on the campaign trail. The Democratic nominee frequently shares stories of her own parents, along with those of her daughter Chelsea and grandchildren. Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton has also been in the spotlight during her campaign.

However, Clinton rarely speaks of her brothers: Hugh and Tony Rodham. Here’s more on her youngest brother Tony.


1. The Ethics of His Business Dealings Have Been Questioned

Tony Rodham, Bill Clinton

(Getty)

In 2015, the New York Times published a story examining the business dealings of Tony Rodham. The paper reported he tried to profit from his connection to the former first family on numerous occasions.

The Times delved into several business dealings including his Haitian gold mining venture.

“The connections to the Clintons have given Mr. Rodham, a self-described ‘facilitator,’ a unique appeal and a range of opportunities,” The Times’ Steve Eder wrote. “But his business dealings have often invited public scrutiny and uncomfortable questions for the Clintons.”

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2. His Involvement in a Haiti Gold Mine Was a Source of Controversy

(Getty)

(Getty)

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Rodham and his partners proposed a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the devastated nation, with funding from the Clinton Foundation. However, the deal never went through and the Clinton Foundation denied knowledge of the proposed plan. At the time, Bill Clinton served as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

In October 2013, Rodham joined the advisory board of VCS Mining, a Delaware-based company that was planning a gold mine in Haiti. His involvement became a source of controversy in Haiti because of concern about potential environmental effects and the notion that the project would solely benefit foreign investors.

Rodham objected to the implication that he received the board position due to his ties to the former first family.

“I’m a very accomplished person in my own right. I raise money for a lot of people. That’s what I basically do,” Rodham told the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post:

In interviews with The Washington Post, both Rodham and the chief executive of Delaware-based VCS Mining said they were introduced at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative — an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation that critics have long alleged invites a blurring of its charitable mission with the business interests of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their corporate donors.

When asked if Rodham attends Clinton Global Initiative meetings for possible business ventures, he told the Post, “No, I go to see old friends. But you never know what can happen.”


3. The Rodham Brothers Organized a Company to Harvest Hazelnuts From the Former Soviet Republic of Georgia

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton

(Getty)

In 1999, Tony and Hugh Rodham organized a company to harvest and sell hazelnuts from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with political adversaries of the Georgian president, who was a U.S. ally at the time. The Rodham brothers entered into a $118 million joint venture with Aslan Abashidze. They also seemed to develop a personal relationship with him— Tony Rodham agreed to become the godfather to Abashidze’s grandsons.

Abashidze viewed the deal as a de facto endorsement by the United States, who was allied with Abashidze’s rival, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

According to the New York Times, President Clinton’s national security adviser, Samuel Berger, pressed the brothers to back out of the venture. The paper described the business plan as having “caused trouble for US foreign policy.”

The Rodhams ultimately called off the deal because of the controversy.

Later, Abashidze fled to Russia and was given a 15-year prison sentence. The Georgian Court found him guilty of abuse of power and the embezzlement of state funds. He also faces a murder charge connected to the death of his former deputy Nodar Imnadze in 1991.


4. He’s Held a Variety of Jobs, But Never Held Public Office

(Getty)

(Getty)

Rodham attended Iowa Wesleyan College and the University of Arkansas. He worked at a metal equipment company in Texas and later, at an insurance company in Chicago, before becoming a prison guard– a job Bill Clinton helped him secure.

He and his older brother Hugh moved to south Florida, where he was a private detective until 1992.

Throughout the 1990s while Bill Clinton served as president, Rodham worked for the Democratic National Committee, coordinating constituency outreach.

By 2000, Rodham had left the DNC to become a “general consultant.” In a 2001 interview with Larry King, Rodham explained that he consulted for all types of businesses: “I just bring different peoples together. I help them negotiate deals. I solve problems for people.”


5. The Rodham Brothers Were Paid to Lobby Pardons

(Getty)

(Getty)

In 2000, Tony Rodham successfully lobbied President Clinton to pardon a Tennessee couple convicted of bank fraud. The pardon was granted over the objections of the U.S. Justice Department. Rodham acknowledged talking to President Clinton about a pardon.

Although Rodham said he took up the couple’s cause pro bono, congressional investigators later found the couple had paid him a $244,769 salary as a consultant.

His brother, Hugh Rodham was paid $434,000 to lobby—successfully—for pardons for a cocaine trafficker, and fugitive financier. His actions gained much public criticism, and he returned the money.

A former Clinton White House staffer told the New York Times, ”You never wanted to hear their name come up in any context other than playing golf.”

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