Bill Clinton: "Grateful" for help of former aide Doug Band

Former President Bill Clinton defended a former longtime aide who was a subject of a critical magazine article in an interview with CBS News' Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell Tuesday.

Speaking from the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Clinton said he is "grateful" for the help of his former aide, Doug Band, who started as his personal aide, or "bodyman" in 2000 and rose to become a top counselor and confidante after Clinton's presidency had ended. He was the subject of a lengthy article published by the New Republic magazine Sunday that detailed how Band not only shaped Clinton's post-presidential empire, but also used his close connection with both the 42nd president and the Clinton Global Initiative to augment his personal wealth and the success of a consulting business he founded called Teneo Holdings.

"He was making a transition. He was starting a business. There's nothing wrong with him starting a business with people he met working for me," said Clinton, though he added that he has not read the article. "That's the only way he could have ever met people he could do business with. He went to work for me when he was in his early 20s and still a law student."

Clinton credited Band with helping to raise "virtually 100 percent" of the money raised in his post-presidency years. The New Republic article details how Band helped secure huge donations for the Clinton Global Initiative by controlling access to Clinton, who was in high demand after leaving office. Not all of the connections were beneficial, as the story shows. Band helped orchestrate a relationship between the Clintons and Raffaello Follieri, a wealthy Italian businessman who would later go to jail for fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

In recent years, Band has forged more of a separate identity from Clinton. He went off the payroll for Clinton's personal office, and CGI stopped paying him in 2011 (though he remains on their advisory board, the article says). "I think it was necessary and I believe he came to see it was necessary to make a clean break, because his business grew more quickly than I think even he thought it would," Clinton told CBS News. "I think the way it worked out is fine, including my not being involved in the business...it's easier for me to recommend them if everybody knows I don't get any money. And I don't take that, but there's nothing wrong with starting a business and trying to make something happen."

More of Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell's interview with Clinton will air Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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