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Rendell: Emails Show Clinton Foundation, State Department Firewall "Ineffective"

The former Pennsylvania governor says the relationship between Clinton Foundation and State Department employees "creates a bad perception" for the Democratic nominee.

Posted on August 24, 2016, at 11:14 a.m. ET

Robin Marchant / Getty Images

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the firewall between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state was "ineffective," creating a "bad perception" for the Democratic nominee.

Rendell, the chair of the Philadelphia host committee for the Democratic National Convention last month, was asked about an AP analysis showing that a large proportion of people from private interests who met or spoke on the phone with Clinton at the State Department were Clinton Foundation donors.

"No, I agree," Rendell said, when the host argued that newly released emails between Clinton Foundation and State Department employees show there was no firewall.

“I don’t know if it was a lie," Rendell told host Rich Zeoli on 1210 WPHT Philadelphia radio. "But it was pretty ineffective. But look, the bottom line is, what they did, I wouldn’t have done, it creates a bad perception. But will it hurt her? It’s obviously not gonna help. I think people have decided that they’ve made their judgment.

"And again, remember, one thing we shouldn’t lose sight of is no one who donated to the Clinton Foundation, not one dime wound up in Hillary Clinton’s pocket or Bill Clinton’s pocket or Chelsea Clinton’s pocket. Where that money wound up is helping 10 and a half million fight off AIDS and not die from the AIDS virus.”

Earlier in the interview, Rendell defended Clinton by comparing the controversy to the one during the primary over her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs.

"So, look, does it look good?" he said. "No. Absolutely not. And they should’ve been more thoughtful about it. But is it a major problem? I don’t think unless there’s a connection, it’s a major problem. It’s like Bernie Sanders during the primaries, remember he kept saying, 'You gave all those speeches for Goldman Sachs and all these other people and you didn’t do it for nothing, you know, you did it,' and Hillary Clinton said to him in one of the debates, she said, ‘Senator, find me one incident where I did something for someone who gave me money for giving a speech that was improper. And of course he couldn’t. And he didn’t.”

Rendell has previously been critical of the perception created by the Clinton Foundation, saying last week that it should be disbanded if she becomes the president. Bill Clinton has said he would step down from the foundation's board if Clinton wins and that the foundation plans to scale back operations.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.