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The Political Angling Behind Clinton-Tied Teneo’s Canadian Office

Opened in January 2016, the enterprise was designed to provide a Clinton Administration “in” for Canadian businesses; when Trump won, they changed course…

Brian Mulroney Teneo Canada

Nearly a year ago, before a single vote was cast in the U.S. presidential election—let alone any determination of major party nominees—consulting firm Teneo Holdings proudly announced an office opening in Toronto, Canada.

Teneo, a group founded by former Bill Clinton aide Doug Band and other Clinton associates, said in a press release that the office would allow the firm to further “meet the global needs of its diverse client base.”

“Not only do many of our clients have operations in Canada, but Canadian companies are deeply tied to global markets through trade and foreign investment,” said Teneo Chairman and CEO Declan Kelly at the time.

The Toronto office, Teneo’s first in Canada, is run by James Crossland, who was named chairman of Teneo Canada. In an email to clients and other associates earlier this month, Crossland announced that Teneo moved to new offices in November, just in time for the U.S. presidential election, which Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win.

Sources say the idea behind the November expansion was to have Teneo Canada running at full speed just in time for the group to capitalize on their connections with Clinton during her transition to the White House. Teneo Canada was able to offer this access as an additional service for clients, further perpetuating the “Clinton Inc.” machinations first revealed in Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, made public by WikiLeaks. The Washington Post explains:

The memo, made public Wednesday by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, lays out the aggressive strategy behind lining up the consulting contracts and paid speaking engagements for Bill Clinton that added tens of millions of dollars to the family’s fortune, including during the years that Hillary Clinton led the State Department. It describes how Band helped run what he called “Bill Clinton Inc.,” obtaining “in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”

Band and his Teneo co-founder, former Hillary Clinton fundraiser Declan Kelly, declined to comment. But Teneo issued a statement saying that “as the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world. It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”

But voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other states across the country foiled Teneo’s strategy when Donald Trump won the November 8 election. Having lost an edge on their competition, Teneo scrambled to find a way to potentially earn the kind of access they would have had in a Clinton Administration.

Then on December 9, as Crossland announced the new Teneo Canada offices, he also announced the hiring of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, a close personal friend with Republican President Ronald Reagan. The thought is Mulroney, who spoke at Nancy Reagan’s funeral in March, would be able to make inroads with the Trump Administration in ways that former Clinton staffers could not.

(READ: The Crossland Email, Part 1 & Part 2)

Days before Crossland’s email was sent, Mulroney told CTV that Trump is a “very nice guy” who could be a great president.

“Donald Trump, I think, wants to be known as a great president, and that’s entirely up to him. And one of the ways he can do it is by co-operating with a great ally like Canada — and I think that’s going to happen,” Mulroney said.

While it remains to be seen whether Teneo’s move will pay off once Trump is sworn in, it’s clear that “Clinton Inc.” remains alive and well, and, despite its banishment to the wilderness, as hungry as ever for more money and power.