OCTOBER 16, 2015
Judicial Watch reported last month that State Department documents indicate that 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 (SGE). Any doubt that that this position should have never been approved was erased today with JW’s release of new documents from the Department of State that include an email from the agency’s top financial disclosure official revealing that Abedin failed to produce important financial transaction records of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, as required by law before obtaining her position as a SGE in 2012. Despite the lack of legally required transparency and accountability by Abedin and the Obama/Clinton State Department, Abedin was also given a Top Secret security clearance renewal in anticipation of her SGE position.
Your Judicial Watch uncovered these records as a result of our 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)).
Just getting these records took persistence in the face of fraud and obstruction by the Obama/Clinton gang. 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 Secretariat, which would have included the Office of the Secretary of State. Relying upon the State Department’s representation that the agency conducted a reasonable search – which Judicial Watch later learned to be untrue, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014. We were lied to, as we had no clue about Hillary Clinton’s separate email system at the time.
Thankfully, Judge Emmet Sullivan reopened the lawsuit on June 19, 2015, in response to the revelations about Clinton’s email games.
Our diligence and persistence uncovered the corruption behind the Abedin “special” job appointment. These new records show that Abedin had to be repeatedly reminded of the need for her financial records to be included in the OGE Form 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report as part of her termination agreement with the State Department. But, according to a June 5, 2012, email from State Department Financial Disclosures Chief Sarah Taylor, Abedin failed to produce key sections of the records, even after her appointment as a SGE had been approved on June 3, 2012.
On June 5, 2012, Taylor sent the following email to Heather Samuelson and Marcela Green, both of the State Department’s Financial Disclosures Division, concerning Abedin’s failure to complete the OGE 278 form with the subject line “RE: disclosure questions:”
Her termination report is Incomplete, Schedule B, Part I and II were left blank. Schedule C, Part II was left blank. I hope she provided all of her spouse’s assets. Marcella I believe told him, either Huma or her husband called her yesterday indicating there were more assets. The documents I have do not have the income information, only the value information. What was her date of termination? She needs to be aware her termination report will be going up on a DOS website for the public to view and it must be accurate.
Unbelievable, isn’t it? Again, these questions are still unanswered two days after Abedin gets the sweetheart patronage job.
The sections of the OGE 278 financial disclosures form that Abedin and Weiner failed to complete were:
- Schedule B, Part 1 – Transactions. Report any purchase, sale, or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children during the reporting period of any real property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000. Include transactions that resulted in a loss.
- Schedule B, Part 2 – Gifts, Reimbursements, and Travel Expenses. For you, your spouse and dependent children, report the source, a brief description, and the value of: (1) gifts (such as tangible items, transportation, lodging, food, or entertainment) received from one source totaling more than $350 and (2) travel-related cash reimbursements received from one source totaling more than $350.
- Schedule C, Part 2 – Agreements or Arrangements. Report your agreements or arrangements for: (1) continuing participation in an employee benefit plan (e.g. pension, 401k, deferred compensation); continuation of payment by a former employer (including severance payments); (3) leaves of absence; and (4) future employment.
The core ethics disclosures required by law were simply ignored by Hillary Clinton’s protégé.
It gets worse. The records show that Abedin had a pre-approved Top Secret (Critical Sensitive) clearance for her SGE position on March 20, 2012. The “revalidation” of her security clearance was directly tied to her pending SGE status. (The clearance document shows that Abedin’s original security clearance investigation and approval took place on the same day – February 4, 2009.)
Just a few weeks ago, we released new records indicating that Abedin had failed to provide Weiner’s full financial disclosure records as required by law, despite repeated requests from State’s Human Resources and Financial Disclosures divisions. The records also indicate Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a SGE. The documents also raised questions about whether Abedin’s position complied with federal law that prevents special government positions created for work already performed by current employees.
To be clear, all these records have been produced only after the State Department performed a second search, after the first search in 2014, only produced eight pages.
Huma Abedin, with the direct help of Hillary Clinton, obtained a sweetheart government job in violation of the law. The Obama State Department tells us it has given us all the documents they have concerning the Abedin employment controversy, which means that Abedin obtained her “special” job despite her refusal to provide her basic financial information and her agreements and arrangements for future employment. None of this prevented Abedin from getting a scam position and – disturbingly – a coveted Top Secret clearance.
Your Judicial Watch isn’t the only one hot on the trail. Politico recently reported, 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. The New York Times reported “It is not clear how much Ms. Abedin was paid by Mrs. Clinton privately, or from the Clinton Foundation and Teneo.”
The Clinton, Inc. influence-peddling 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. Politico reports that other State Department documents show that Abedin was asked to help both the Foundation and Teneo in April 2012.
News is breaking today that the FBI, despite more impeachable obstruction from Barack Obama, is criminally investigating Hillary Clinton for violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of Justice. This is another remarkable testament to the impact of JW’s work. Our FOIA litigation forced both the disclosure of the Clinton email system and the criminal investigation of her email games – all of which could land Hillary Clinton in jail.
The FBI might want to follow our lead again and add the Abedin job scandal into their investigations. Why were the documents withheld from the public for years? Giving one’s political operative a government job in violation of law is a crime, too.
There may be more to come. There’s little doubt that the Hillary Clinton operation (which includes Abedin, who is now on the Clinton campaign staff) is holding documents back. So Judicial Watch lawyers will be requesting that discovery take place to determine whether all emails from the clintonemail.com server have been returned to the State Department and have been reviewed to determine whether they are responsive to our FOIA request. This means potentially putting some of these individuals under oath.
As Senator Everett Dirksen once said: “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” Everyone knows that golf is an expensive sport, but when two golf outings alone cost $1,836,555 in travel expenses alone, that’s a bit much. If it’s your own money, that’s one thing, but who other than President Obama would spend someone else’s millions that way? And by “someone,” I mean you and other taxpayers already oppressed by confiscatory federal taxes.
When Obama went on a series of costly fundraising and entertainment trips this spring, the total bill paid by American taxpayers was close to $4.5 million dollars in travel expenses! We still do not know many of the other costs involved in these trips. For one, it is unknown what the elaborate security required to cover presidential travel cost taxpayers because the Secret Service has not provided the requested information, as required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), regarding its security expenses.
This week, Judicial Watch released records obtained from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama’s spring fling travel for golf vacations and fundraisers totaled $4,436,245.50 in taxpayer-funded transportation expenses.
Using the Air Force’s official cost estimate of $206,337 per hour, the newly released records obtained by Judicial Watch show:
- Obama’s February 14, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required a five-hour flight, costing taxpayers a total of $1,031,685.
- Obama’s March 28, 2015, golf outing to Palm City required a 3.9-hour flight, costing taxpayers $804,870.30.
The Washington Examiner noted that the golf outings cost almost $20,000 per hole. These trips were not to the local pitch and putt. They were elaborate trips to premier golf courses. In Palm Springs, Obama played golf at the luxurious Sunnylands country club, located on the former estate of the late ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Obama reportedly spent the weekend on the exclusive, gated property, where he has twice stayed before.
In Palm City, Obama played golf at the “spectacular” Floridian National Golf Club, where members pay a $50,000 initiation fee and $15,000 in annual dues. According to the resort’s website: “This stunning, yet formidable par 71 will certainly impress. At 7,114 yards, the 18-hole course offers perfectly manicured rolling fairways and greens, demanding hazards, breathtaking views of the St. Lucie River, and is surrounded by a natural preserve and native wildlife.”
And then there were the fundraisers.
Taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation, ponied up over $2.5 million to jet Obama around the country in an effort to – of all things – raise money!
The White House attempted to paint Obama’s jaunt to Chicago as a non-political event to declare the Pullman Historic District a national monument. Members of the press on the scene, who usually grant Obama the benefit of the doubt, reported that the trip was heavily political in nature. As reported by CNN, “Obama gives Emanuel re-election boost:”
President Barack Obama went to Chicago bearing gifts Thursday for his former chief of staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel … But the day had all the trappings of a campaign – and Obama even made an unannounced stop at a Kenwood campaign office for Emanuel on his way out of town. “I’m glad he’s my mayor, and I’m glad he’s going to be my mayor for another four years,” Obama told volunteers.
There is no getting around that fact that Obama’s travel to California was solely to raise money for the Democratic National Committee. In a show of solidarity nationwide for fellow Democrats, Obama began his visit to Los Angeles with an appearance on ABC’s late night comedy program “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and followed that up later with a “roundtable discussion” fundraiser hosted at the Santa Monica home of ICM Partners cofounder Chris Silbermann and his wife Julia Franz. Guests paid up to $33,400 per couple for attendance, donations that are being used to aid DNC political activities. As noted by the LA Times: “In 2015 the DNC is focused on investing resources in opposition research and press, the voter file and analytics infrastructure, voter protection, and building our state networks.” Obama’s March 12 fundraising trip to Los Angeles was his 32nd fundraiser in L.A. County since he became president.
Once again, using the Air Force’s own estimated hourly rate of $206,337:
- Transportation for Obama’s February 19 day trip to Chicago cost taxpayers $619,011.00.
- Transportation for Obama’s March 2015 fundraising trip to Los Angeles cost taxpayers $1,980,835.20.
The American people are justifiably outraged that Barack Obama’s has wasted over $4.4 million of their precious tax dollars on golf vacations and political fundraising. And to make matters worse, the Secret Service has simply refused to respond to our requests for documents about the security costs of these controversial trips. The Obama travel scandal is about abuse of office, abuse of the taxpayer, and contempt for the rule of law.
Records released earlier this year by Judicial Watch showed that Michelle Obama’s 2014 trip to China cost more than $360,000 in air transportation costs. Judicial Watch uncovered an expensive combination of trips by the Obamas to Africa and Honolulu, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses. The single largest prior known expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66.
The infamous al Qaeda terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, took place on the evening of September 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Shortly afterward, a second assault on a nearby compound killed two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. Ten others were also injured in the attacks.
The lies and inaction by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice (who is now Obama’s national security adviser) were monstrous. Rather than tell the truth, and risk political blowback for the Libya mess and the lack of security – the Obama administration abandoned those under fire and pretended the attack had nothing to do with terrorism.
Judicial Watch saw through the lies and began what has become the most nationally significant investigation ever by a non-governmental entity. Our Benghazi Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and subsequent dozen-plus FOIA lawsuits changed history. One of these lawsuits led to the disclosure of White House records confirming that top political operatives at the White House concocted the talking points used by Susan Rice to mislead the American people in order save Obama’s reelection prospects.
These smoking-gun documents embarrassed all of Congress and forced Speaker John Boehner to appoint the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
And the pressure from our Benghazi litigation led to the disclosure of the Clinton email scandal, the historical ramifications of which we are now witnessing.
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to testify next week to the Select Committee. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the thanks-to-JW famous politician running the Committee, has steadfastly refused to talk to JW about what we’ve uncovered. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the leader of panel Democrats, also had no interest in learning about Judicial Watch’s efforts.
We’ll see what happens with Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, but if the past is any indication of the future, the scene will shed more heat than light on the terrible scandal (and Mrs. Clinton’s massive obstruction of its investigation).
As the Benghazi Select Committee has done little of note for the last year to educate the American people about a scandal that may be a key factor that led to the rise of ISIS (and our failing war against it), my colleagues and I have compiled what we believe to be each and every press release documenting our discoveries, actions, and updates from our Benghazi work. Please review this educational material and share with your friends and family, as much of this material deserves widespread attention and notice. This is a body of work that is a testament to the persistence, hard work and patriotic commitment of my JW colleagues. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the steadfast support of our members. The JW Benghazi list is below, in reverse chronological order:
Sept. 17 Judicial Watch: State Department Asked Hillary Clinton to Delete Copies of Classified Benghazi Emails Four Months Ago
July 8 Judicial Watch: Secret Emails Show Hillary Clinton Tied To Benghazi Talking Points
June 29 Judicial Watch: Newly Released Documents Confirm White House Officials Set Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Response
May 26 Judicial Watch: State Department Almost Immediately Labeled Benghazi Attack as “Terrorism Event”
May 18 Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance
Feb. 26 Documents Obtained by Judicial Watch Reveal Top Hillary Clinton Advisers Knew Immediately that Assault on Benghazi was Armed Attack
Feb. 19 Judicial Watch Forces Obama Administration to Release Pentagon Benghazi Attack Documents
Jan. 26 Judicial Watch Obtains State Department DSCC Records on Terrorist Attack on Benghazi
Dec. 11 Judicial Watch: State Department Documents Show Its Security Contractor Operating without a License in Benghazi on Day of Terrorist Attack
Sept. 17 Judicial Watch Statement on Special Select Committee on Benghazi
Sept 10 Documents Reveal State Department Officials Told Three Months before Attack that Benghazi Security Guards Abandoning Posts Out of Fear for Safety
Sept. 10 Judicial Watch Announces Three New Lawsuits against Obama Administration for Records Relating to Benghazi Attack
June 5 Judicial Watch Sues Departments of Defense and State for Records about Benghazi Briefings of Congressional Leaders
May 6 Judicial Watch: Obama Administration Still Withholding Documents about Benghazi Attack
May 2 Judicial Watch Reacts to Speaker Boehner’s Support for Select Committee on Benghazi
April 29 Judicial Watch: Benghazi Documents Point to White House on Misleading Talking Points
April 1 JW Obtains Documents Revealing Questionable Security Contracting in Benghazi
Feb. 5 Obama Administration Withholds Key Benghazi Emails
Jan. 6 Benghazi victims’ families, conservative leaders demand Boehner create Select Committee
Nov 18 Judicial Watch Obtains New Photos of Benghazi Attack Aftermath
Sept. 11 Judicial Watch Issues Special Report on Anniversary of Benghazi Massacre and Cover-Up
July 23 JW Sues Obama State Department for Talking Points and Updates Given to Susan Rice Related to Benghazi Attack
June 21 Judicial Watch Obtains First Photos from State Department Depicting Aftermath of Benghazi Attack
March 5 Judicial Watch Sues U.S. Department of State for Details on $400,000 Benghazi Security Contract
March 5 JW Sues Obama State Department for Benghazi Attack Videos and Photographs
Feb. 20 JW Sues Office of the Director of National Intelligence for Docs Describing Attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi
Jan. 22 JW Special Report: “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions”