Huma Abedin and the Tangled Clinton Web
Almost a month ago, Fox News reported that the FBI’s investigation of possible national security violations stemming from Hillary Clinton’s private email system had expanded to include a corruption angle, centered on the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the possibility that Foundation donors received favorable government treatment during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
The Fox report prompted indignant denials from Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign that there had been any broadening of the probe. Yet, the government is not required to disclose the course of its investigation publicly, much less to its subjects. And now, there are additional indications that the government is indeed scrutinizing the cozy relations the State Department enjoyed during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s tenure with both the Clinton Foundation and a Clinton-connected consulting firm called Teneo.
Last autumn, according to the Washington Post, the State Department’s inspector general (IG) issued subpoenas to the Clinton Foundation. The IG’s office has authority to investigate wrongdoing at the Department, including criminal wrongdoing. Its conclusions may be referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, and may also result in other forms of disciplinary action against government officials found to have committed misconduct. The subpoenas served on the Clinton Foundation reportedly focused on two areas of inquiry: (a) Clinton Foundation projects that may have required federal government approval during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state; and (b) Clinton Foundation records pertaining to the employment of Huma Abedin.
Ms. Abedin, a longtime Clinton confidante, served as Secretary Clinton’s deputy chief-of-staff at the State Department and is now vice chairwoman of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign for the presidency.
For about a half-year toward the end of Abedin’s tenure at the State Department, which coincided with Secretary Clinton’s own departure from the State Department in February 2013, Abedin was given a highly unusual and ethically dubious arrangement. She was permitted to work simultaneously for the State Department, Teneo, the Clinton Foundation, and even in a personal capacity for Mrs. Clinton in order to manage the secretary’s transition back to the private sector (notwithstanding that Mrs. Clinton had a job waiting for her at the lavishly funded Clinton Foundation, from which she would oversee her 2016 campaign-in-waiting).
Ordered Liberty readers will recall that Ms. Abedin has been the subject of controversy. Several years ago, five House conservatives asked State’s IG to investigate how Abedin managed to receive a security clearance despite extensive family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to an al-Qaeda financier whose “charity” was designated a terrorist organization by the government.
At the time, senior Republicans attacked the House conservatives, despite the fact that the latter were not alleging any wrongdoing on Abedin’s part -- they were merely and sensibly questioning the propriety of the government’s granting a security clearance to someone of Abedin’s background.
In light of new revelations in the Clinton email scandal, which place Abedin in the center of the mishandling of classified information through Mrs. Clinton’s homebrew server system, the concerns of the House conservatives seem prescient.
Ms. Abedin, of course, is married to former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. The wedding ceremony was performed by former President Clinton in July 2010. Less than a year later, Weiner was enmeshed in a “sexting” scandal involving the sending of sexually explicit photographs of himself to young women. He vehemently denied the allegations until undeniable proof mounted, at which point he apologized and resigned in disgrace. At the time, Ms. Abedin was pregnant -- the couple’s son was born in December 2011. Weiner attempted a political comeback in 2013, running for mayor of New York City with the strong support of his wife. His campaign went up in flames, however, when news emerged that he had continued sexting (under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger”) for more than a year after leaving Congress over it.
Abedin’s tenure at the State Department has already been the subject of an investigation for financial self-dealing. It is alleged that while she was pregnant in 2011, she went on an extended “Babymoon” vacation but failed to file paperwork that is required when government employees take paid leave – meaning: she was paid while on vacation as if she were working full-time. Because her leave time was not deducted while she was on vacation, and because government employees are paid for accumulated, unused leave time when they exit government service, Abedin was effectively paid twice for her vacation – cashing in the un-deducted leave in 2013, when she quit the State Department. The result, the IG found, was an overpayment of over $10,000.
Abedin disputes the IG’s conclusion that the payment was improper, claiming that she did some work while on vacation. The IG referred his findings to the Obama Justice Department, then led by Attorney General Eric Holder. Justice declined to prosecute.
The vacation kerfuffle may be the least of Abedin’s problems.