Grassley challenges Abedin: Conducting corporate business on State time, facilities?

The continued release of e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server may land her closest aide in legal trouble sooner than her boss. Senate Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley had already begun probing the unusual arrangement that allowed Huma Abedin to work for both the State Department and Teneo simultaneously, as well as Abedin’s claims of never having taken a vacation or sick day while at State. Abedin has responded by publicly rebuking Grassley for “damaging her reputation,” a claim that provoked plenty of derision related to her spouse and his own damaging antics.


The rebuke hasn’t daunted Grassley, who has new questions about Abedin’s conduct at State. New e-mails produced through a FOIA demand by Citizens United appear to show that Abedin used the Clintonemail server for Teneo business, raising even more questions about conflicts of interest and the abuse of public trust — including whether Abedin was doing political work for Clinton on State Department time:

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned whether Huma Abedin’s status as a Special Government Employee (SGE), which enabled her to hold four positions simultaneously, created conflicts of interest.

“How can the taxpayer know who exactly SGEs are working for at any given moment?” Grassley asked in a letter to Abedin and Secretary of State John Kerry. “How can the ethics officer at the State Department know?”

Grassley’s letter was prompted by emails from Abedin’s official State Department account obtained by Fox News that include messages sent ahead of a December 2012 visit to Dublin and Belfast by Clinton, who was then secretary of state. In those emails and others, Abedin discusses diplomatic matters as well as issues related to her work for both the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a firm co-founded by a longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton. …

In another message, sent Nov. 30, Abedin attempted to arrange a get-together in Dublin for a small group of people on the evening of Dec. 6.

“Maybe we can all gather for drinks/dinner and HRC can come join for as long as she can?” Abedin asked in her e-mail. The dinner was ultimately attended by Clinton campaign donors, Clinton Foundation donors, and Teneo’s CEO.

In another case, the Post reported that in July 2012, the assistant to a New York banking executive wrote to Abedin to ask for her input on whether the executive should take a job at Teneo. The paper reported that Abedin agreed to meet with the executive, who later accepted the position.


The Hill has more:

New documents revealed as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit suggest that the lines between Abedin’s work for the government, for a private advisory firm and for Clinton’s foundation were often blurred.

For instance, Grassley pointed to a set of 2012 emails in which Abedin discussed establishing a “Clinton Centre” in Ireland. During those discussions, Abedin invited private individuals helping out the Clinton Foundation and the firm Teneo to official events as part of Secretary Clintons’ travel to the country.

“All of this raises fundamental questions about your employment arrangements,” Grassley wrote.

The senator sent a similar letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking not just about Abedin’s employment but about the broader use of the SGE designation.

That would be a violation of the Hatch Act, which forbids the use of government resources for campaign activities. Originally passed in 1939 as a government reform effort, Congress amended it in 1993 to keep the law from stifling legitimate political expression by federal employees. It still forbids the use of government offices and resources for campaign activities, plus there are other regulations barring the use of government facilities for private gain.

Considering the special arrangements granted Abedin to work at Teneo, a politically connected company to Clintonland, these “coincidences” are starting to smell a lot like corruption. And this is just the start of the e-mail vetting.


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