CommunityFDL Main Blog

Advisor Huma Abedin’s Job Arrangement under Hillary Investigated by State Department

The State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has agreed, only two years after the fact, to investigate a program that allowed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hire one of her key personal advisors, Huma Abedin, for government work even as she was also employed by a private firm.

Conflict of Interest?

Inspector General Steve Linick said he is looking into whether those employed as Special Government Employees (SGE), the designation Clinton gave to Abedin, are following the law, and avoiding conflicts of interest. The idea is if you are being paid by two organizations, where your loyalty lies can come into question. Never mind the potential misuse of sensitive information you might acquire at the Secretary of State’s side.

“The OIG intends to examine the department’s SGE program to determine if it conforms to applicable legal and policy requirements,” Linick said in response to a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley.

Clinton approved hiring Abedin, her long-time assistant, as an SGE, which allowed her to collect a government salary while also continuing to work for Teneo, a private firm. Teneo is a global advisory firm that helps with investments and other financial needs for many of the world’s largest and most complex companies and organizations. Knowing a bit about upcoming U.S. government decisions and plans would make someone quite a valuable asset in such a company.

Not the Right Order of Things

In addition to the conflict of interest issue, Senator Grassley also questioned whether Abedin was qualified to be designated an SGE at all.

The designation of someone as a Special Government Employee is supposed to be used to entice someone already in the private sector to split his or her time in order for the government to tap “special knowledge and skills.” However, in Abedin’s case, she was already working for Clinton. It was only after Clinton unilaterally designated her as an SGE that she moved to take an outside job, Grassley said.

In other words, the SGE program is designed to bring outside experts in to assist the government, not allow State Department employees to launch second careers in the private sector while remaining tied to the Department.

State Department records show that a half-dozen of Clinton’s political allies were also granted the special designation status during her tenure.

How Much Did She Make, and Why Can’t We Know?

There is no legal prohibition against State Department employees having an outside job per se, but they cannot be seen as taking advantage of their official position, and they must report their outside income to the Department.

Abedin, however, did not report her income. “Ms. Abedin did not disclose the arrangement — or how much income she earned — on her financial report,” the New York Times discovered. “An adviser to Clinton, Philippe Reines, simply said that Abedin was not obligated to do so.”

No explanation was given, and the State Department did not question the unique arrangement.

All Roads Lead Back to the Clinton Foundation

Abedin is a busy woman. In the midst of her multiple jobs, she also found time to, you guessed it, serve as a consultant to the Clinton Foundation.

Abedin only ended her private sector consulting practice to move on to become director of Clinton’s transition office out of State. She now, of course, works for the Hillary campaign.

Abedin is married to former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned after a sexting scandal that involved photos of his penis and the use of false name, “Carlos Danger.”

Previous post

Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist

Next post

Recent poll shows more people support sentencing Tsarnaev to LWOP than death in the Boston area

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

6 Comments