- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2015

A longtime Democratic donor and friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton proposed renaming New York’s Baruch College School of Public Affairs the “Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Public and International Affairs” while Mrs. Clinton was serving as President Obama’s secretary of state, an email shows.

Bernard Schwartz, who is now the chairman and CEO of his private investment firm BLS Investments LLC in Manhattan, and Baruch College President Mitchel Wallerstein tried to spearhead an effort to raise a significant amount of capital for the school to be renamed in Mrs. Clinton’s honor.

Mr. Schwartz, a graduate of Baruch College, pledged $5 million in 2002 to recruit and train teachers for its business school.

“You may recall that we met late last year when Secretary Clinton received Bernard Schwartz and me to discuss our proposal to raise a significant amount of private funds (without her involvement) to enable Baruch College to re-name and expand its School of Public Affairs as the ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Public and International Affairs’ and to establish, in parallel, the ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton Library’ to house her correspondence as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State,” Mr. Wallerstein wrote Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff in January 2012. The State Department released the letter last month.

Mr. Wallerstein wrote that he would remain mum on the renaming of the school until Mrs. Clinton had time to solidify her post-government plans. He said Mrs. Clinton was “intrigued by the proposal” but told him and Mr. Schwartz that it would be premature to make any decisions about the school until she made up her mind about what she would do in the private sector.

Bernard and I responded that we fully understood this point and that we were prepared to be patient while her thinking evolved,” Mr. Wallerstein wrote. “During this time we have refrained (and will continue to refrain) from any fundraising efforts or any public discussion of the idea. We are, in fact, eager to coordinate closely (and quietly) with you and the secretary’s other key staff as her thinking and planning evolves over the coming months.”

Baruch College’s school hasn’t been renamed, and no fundraisers to do so have been made public. A spokeswoman for the school did not respond to requests for comment.

But the email highlights what critics say is Mrs. Clinton’s questionable relationship with a major donor and controversial figure during her husband’s tenure as president.

Mr. Schwartz’s connection with the Clintons runs deep and is not without controversy.

He is a major Democratic donor, contributing about $2.6 million to the party in the past two political cycles. He also built a friendship with Mr. Clinton during his years in office, giving $1.3 million to the president and his party at the time. Mr. Schwartz is also a Clinton Foundation donor, pledging $1 million to the organization, and raised money for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid.

In September, Mr. Schwartz hosted an event in Manhattan where the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta, met with a group of prospective donors to her super PAC, according to a report from The New York Times, which viewed the invitation.

The Clintons and Mr. Schwartz also have been accused of having a too-cozy relationship that earned the businessman special treatment.

During the late-1990s, Mr. Schwartz was president of Loral Space and Communications, a satellite company, and was lobbying the Clinton administration to ease the government approval process for Chinese satellite launching. Mr. Schwartz wanted to launch satellites on a Chinese rocket, which was prohibited at the time.

Mr. Clinton granted the request in February 1998 even as the Justice Department was leading a criminal inquiry of whether Loral violated American export control laws. In 2002, Loral agreed to pay a civil fine of $14 million to settle the federal investigation but insisted it would “neither admit or deny” the government’s charges.

Mr. Schwartz told The New York Times that he had never personally asked Mr. Clinton or any other administration official for anything to benefit his company and said there was “no linkage” between his political donations to the Democrats and Mr. Clinton’s favorable decision.

Mr. Schwartz didn’t return a phone call requesting comment from The Washington Times. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign also declined to comment.

While Mrs. Clinton headed the State Department, her director of policy planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter, assessed potential schools that could be renamed and expanded in Mrs. Clinton’s honor.

In addition to Baruch, New York University, Columbia University, and the City University of New York were among the 10 colleges discussed, according to a 2012 email released by the State Department.

Picking the City University of New York would have “political advantages,” Ms. Slaughter wrote, saying it would attract “an ethnically and economically diverse mix of students.” But she said it would “be a very hard slog in terms of getting the quality of students you want.”

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