JULY 26, 2013
Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin is making headlines lately for standing by her disgraced husband through a sexting scandal, but she’s also embroiled in her own controversy and months ago Judicial Watch launched an independent investigation with the State Department.
It involves Abedin raking in lucrative “consulting fees” while also working as a top Clinton aide at the State Department. The deadline for the State Department to provide the records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has expired and Judicial Watch is preparing lawsuit since it’s unlikely the agency will provide the files without litigation. In correspondence dated June 5, 2013 the State Department acknowledged receiving JW’s FOIA request and the agency claims it’s processing it and has assigned it a case control number.
But, like most government agencies, the State Department is laying the groundwork to avoid providing the information. “Unusual circumstances (including the number and location of Department components involved in responding to your request, the volume of requested records, etc.) may arise that would require additional time to process your request,” the agency writes in its letter to JW.
Yesterday a U.S. Senator, who requested information about Abedin’s questionable arrangement weeks after JW filed its FOIA, revealed that the State Department has also blown him off. “So far, the State Department and Ms. Abedin haven’t provided a single document that I requested,” according to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who, like JW wants answers about the “Special Government Employee” status that allowed Abedin to make money as a private consultant while Uncle Sam paid her salary. “Putting up a stone wall raises a lot more questions about how the program is being used than it answers,” Grassley said.
The veteran lawmaker provides the laughable response that he received this month from the State Department regarding Abedin’s cushy little arrangement in her final months at the agency. It says that Abedin voluntarily ended her full-time employment at the State Department on June 3, 2012 and was retained as a “senior adviser/expert, for which she was compensated at and hourly rate” and designated as a “Special Government Employee (SGE).”
Senator Grassley also received a letter from Abedin, dated July 5, 2013, further explaining her deal. Abedin claims that she wanted to live in New York after the birth of her son in December 2013, so she became a consultant/SGE through the remaining six months of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. She pats herself on the back for “voluntarily” disclosing six-figure income that she and her beloved hubby earned as “a result of consulting work.”
Details of Abedin’s arrangement are important for a variety of reasons. Among them is that one of the private clients she consulted while still at the State Department is Teneo Holdings, a firm run by a close Clinton pal. Senator Grassley believes Teneo may have been paying Abedin to gather information from government sources to help clients with investment decisions. This raises questions about whether her dual role was adequately disclosed to government officials, Grassley points out in his June letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
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