Grassley Demands Answers on Huma Abedin's Role at State Department

Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 07:19 PM

By Cathy Burke

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New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner isn't the only one facing serious questions about his past — wife Huma Abedin's consulting deals while working for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are also under scrutiny.

Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley today promised to dig deeper into Abedin's tenure at State, where she also took on private consulting work, The Hill reported.

Abedin served as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff but became a "special government employee" in June 2012 after she gave birth to son Jordan. Weiner resigned as New York's Democratic congressman in 2011 amid his first sexting scandal.

"The State Department says the federal government uses Special Government Employees 'to provide services and expertise the executive agencies require,'" Grassley said. "The purpose of my inquiry is to shed light on whether the program is being used as intended, not just by Ms. Abedin, but more broadly, as well."

Abedin represented at least four clients — the State Department, Hillary Clinton, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and a firm co-founded by former president Bill Clinton's counselor Doug Band — between June 2012 and February 2013, Politico reported last May.

Grassley, the top Judiciary Committee Republican, compiled a three-page letter to Abedin and Secretary of State John Kerry, saying he was concerned her status "blurs the line between public- and private-sector employees, especially when employees receive full-time salaries for what appears to be part-time work," The New York Post reported last month.

Their response laid out her employment timeline at the department – but didn't satisfy Grassley, The Hill reported.

"Her services included advising and participating in planning for the Secretary's schedule and travel," the department response said. "Before starting her SGE [Special Government Employee] position, Ms. Abedin acknowledged that she had read Department ethics guidance for new entrant filers."

But Grassley said the State Department and Abedin "should be willing to show the documents involved in administering the program to demonstrate good stewardship of tax dollars and the public interest."

"So far, the State Department and Ms. Abedin haven’t provided a single document that I requested. Putting up a stone wall raises a lot more questions about how the program is being used than it answers," Grassley said.

"I intend to pursue more complete answers to my questions."

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