SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
Clinton approved of Abedin’s SGE status, but may not have personally signed the document. The State Department provided documents on November 12 that show the previously redacted signature. The signature appears more likely to be that of Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, than that of Clinton.
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch released new State Department records today that reveal former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a special government employee.
The records also show that Abedin declined to provide complete information about her husband Anthony Weiner’s financial dealings. The records were uncovered as a result of a court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Abedin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). The records show Abedin used a clintonemail.com account to communicate about her special status.
In February 2014, the State Department assured Judicial Watch that it had searched several individual offices of the department, including the office of the executive secretary, which would have included the offices of the secretary of State and top staff. Relying upon the State Department’s misrepresentation that the agency conducted a reasonable search, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014. Judge Emmet Sullivan reopened the lawsuit on June 19, 2015, in response to revelations about Clinton’s separate email system.
The newly uncovered documents show that Clinton personally signed the form for Abedin’s appointment as a “Special Government Employee/ senior advisor to Clinton on March 23, 2012. The position description form details that Hillary Clinton certifies that Abedin’s “position is necessary to carry out Government functions for which I am responsible.” The Obama State Department blacked out Clinton’s signature on the form, allegedly to protect Clinton’s privacy.
The documents also include details about Abedin’s “expert” position, which evidently also required a continued top secret clearance:
As a Senior Advisor (Expert) to the Secretary, the incumbent will provide expert advice and guidance on varying issues related to the planning of logistical arrangements for foreign and domestic missions, and for the coordination of the foreign policy requirements, press, and protocol and security components necessary for a successful and sensitive foreign policy mission.
The documents raise questions about whether Abedin’s new position complied with federal law that prevents special government positions created for work already performed by current employees. On June 4, 2012, Abedin states “NO, MY NEW POSITION IS IDENTICAL TO MY OLD POSITION.” Abedin also expressed concern in March 2012 about the State Department’s finally paying for her travel from New York. In a March 27, 2012, email about her “conversion to expert appointment,” Abedin writes:
Have a few questions. One is time sensitive, I need to come down to state tomorrow. Can state start paying for my travel since ny is now my base? I’ve been paying personally for the last 6 months. Thanks.
The records show that there was a rush to appoint Abedin to the position, which was initially set to begin on April 1, 2012. When Abedin was finally approved in June 2012, she had failed to provide her husband Anthony Weiner’s financial information, despite repeated requests from the State Department.
In a March 21, 2012, email, Cynthia Motley, administrative officer in the State Department, writes to Abedin requesting the financial disclosure information
Huma, I have been advised to begin the process to convert you from your Non-Career SES position as Senior Adviser (Expert-SGE) in the Office of the Secretary which is to be effective April 1, 2012. In order to initiate the conversion appointment, I will need to following from you as soon as possible:
The attached SF-278 Financial Disclosure Report must be completed for your termination from the Non-Career SES appointment.
On April 3, 2012, in a response to Motely, Abedin begins what turns out to be a lengthy period of non-compliance:
Anthony filed his separate disclosures last june. Nothing has changed. I don’t need to include his stuff on mine, right? Just want to confirm Thanks!
On April 4, Motley again advises Abedin that Weiner’s assets must be disclosed:
I have confirmed with the Legal Office that his assets are imputed to you so his assets are reportable on your OGE-278 which should include all of 2011 and 2012 up to the date.
In May 2012, after Abedin has still failed to file the required discloses, Sarah Taylor, the chief of the DOS Financial Disclosure Division, is forced to enter contact Abedin in an email marked “Importance: High:”
I have your termination OGE-278 report and the financial disclosure report for the Senior Advisor position. While reviewing your termination OGe-278, I noticed your spouse had several assets that weren’t reported on your report. Can you kindly provide an end of year summary statement so that I can update your report accurately?
After months of non-productive wrangling, Abedin was appointed to the SGE position on June 3, 2012, without having submitted the proper financial disclosure documents for Weiner, as indicated in a June 22 email from Taylor to Marcela Green of the DOS Financial Disclosures Division:
Yes, she [Abedin] was supposed to give me some information regarding her spouse’s assets and she has not done so.
Another email suggests that as of August, 29, 2013, Abedin still hadn’t provided the required financial information.
In a June 6, 2012 email, Abedin admits, “I don’t really know [Weiner’s] clients or his work.” This email chain discloses that Abedin had already been cleared for the “other position.”
The State Department produced these records after performing a second search of State Department offices. The first search, conducted in early 2014, produced only eight pages.
This same litigation saw the development of the FBI and Justice Department rejecting an order by Judge Sullivan to produce information about searching for records on the server and other material reportedly taken from Mrs. Clinton. As Judicial Watch responded in a court filing this week:
We still do not know whether the FBI… has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business… We also do not know whether the server purportedly in the possession of the FBI – an assumption based on unsworn statements by third parties – is the actual email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business… Nor do we know whether any copies of the email server or copies of the records from the email server exist.
“These documents show the Huma Abedin received special treatment contrary to law and that Hillary Clinton personally approved a corrupt patronage position,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These new documents are smoking gun evidence of what Hillary Clinton’s separate email server was all about – keeping secret the corruption of her and her top staff. What else is out there?”
Politico reported that, since June 2012, Abedin had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.
Teneo describes its activities as providing “the leaders of the world’s most respected companies, nonprofit institutions and governments with a full suite of advisory solutions.” [Emphasis added] Outside of the U.S., it maintains offices in Dubai, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Brussels, Washington, and Beijing. Teneo was also the subject of various investigative reports, including by the New York Times, which raise questions about its relationship with the Clinton Foundation. Today, Politico reports that other State Department documents show Abedin was asked to help both the Foundation and Teneo in April 2012.