Huma Abedin, the wife of notorious sexter Anthony Weiner, is probably receiving a lot of unwanted attention lately over her husband’s cell phone picture habits.
Abedin is a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. For almost a year in 2012, she was recognized as a “special government employee” by the State Department. As a special government employee, Abedin received $135,000 a year as a part-time consultant for the State Department while also earning $355,000 as a consultant at Teneo, where former president Bill Clinton is a board member.
Last month, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote an extensive letter questioning whether Abedin’s role as a government employee and a private-sector employee represented any conflict of interest.
“This raises important questions about whether her dual role was adequately disclosed to government officials who may have provided her information without realizing that she was being paid by private investors to gather information,” Grassley said.
Craig Holman, a member of the government ethics watchdog organization Public Citizen, echoes Grassley’s concerns.
“If this story pans out that Huma (Abedin) actually had access to inside information while serving as a government official but at the same time serving as a strategic consultant to a firm that actively trades in the stock market, this could be quite a problem," he said.
Abedin responded to Grassley’s inquiries by saying that her special government employee designation was approved by the State Department.
“I was not asked, nor did I provide, insights about the Department, my work with the Secretary, or any government information to which I may have had access,” she said.
But Grassley says his letter has led to more questions than answers. He requested several documents from the State Department about Abedin’s responsibilities and security clearances, but none of his requests have been granted.
“The State Department and Ms. Abedin should be willing to show the documents involved in administering the program to demonstrate good stewardship of tax dollars and the public interest,” Grassley said. “Putting up a stone wall raises a lot more questions about how the program is being used than it answers.”