State Department has no record of Clinton or her top aides taking mandatory ethics training

The State Department has no evidence showing Hillary Clinton or the majority of her top aides at the department complied with mandatory ethics training. McClatchy reports newly released documents show just three of Clinton’s aides took the required training:

State Department records show only three of nine top Clinton aides took the mandated training for new employees. Records also suggest that none of seven top aides required to take subsequent annual training completed it.

No records indicate whether Clinton herself took any training.

The Republican National Committee made an FOIA request for the documents last December. When the State Department did not respond within the 90-day deadline, the RNC filed a lawsuit. Today the documents the RNC received in response to the lawsuit were released. The RNC press release reads in part:

While the State Department’s production demonstrated some senior officials met some of their obligations under the law, no records showing completion of annual ethics training were found for Hillary Clinton or the following top aides:

  • Cheryl Mills

  • Huma Abedin

  • Jake Sullivan

  • Dennis Cheng

  • Anne Marie Slaughter

  • Philippe Reines

  • Caitlin Klevorick

  • Kris Bladerston

One of the documents released today is an email exchange in which someone named Angela Jordan informs Huma Abedin that she has yet to complete annual ethics training for 2012. The email, which is dated January 17, 2013, reads in part:

Hello Huma

Our records indicate that you have not completed Ethics Training for 2012. Per Federal Regulation, all financial disclosure filers must receive annual trainings. If you have taken the training online or with an ethics attorney, please provide the approximate date.

Two days later, Huma responds, “Angela—heather samuelson has my financial disclosure form.” Jordan replies, “am not talking about your Financial Disclosure Form am talking about your Ethics training.” Huma’s final response is, “Okay I wasn’t aware. I’ll go online.” Apparently there is no record Abedin completing the training. The exchange concluded about a week before Hillary Clinton left her post as Secretary of State.

A State Department’s spokesperson tells McClatchy not to draw any conclusions about whether Hillary or her aides actually took the required training from the fact that the Department can’t produced records showing they did:

“We would caution against drawing any conclusions simply from the absence of documentation provided in response to a FOIA request,” said Elizabeth Trudeau, State Department director of press relations.

What’s the point of making annual ethics training mandatory if the department doesn’t keep track of who did (or did not) follow the requirement?

But let’s face it, it’s not as if anything would have turned out differently if Clinton and her aides had taken the training. That’s like suggesting Bill Clinton would have been a completely different person if only he’d taken the sexual harassment training every year.