Report: Clinton Aide’s Dual Roles May Have Broken Conflict of Interest Laws

Sen. Grassley: Investigation 'found at least a reasonable suspicion of a violation'

Huma Abedin sits close behind Hillary Clinton
August 3, 2015

The State Department’s top watchdog found "reasonable suspicion" that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s second job as a private consultant may have broken conflict of interest rules, according a letter sent by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The finding was included in a State Department inspector’s general report, which was first disclosed by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. The report also said Abedin was overpaid by $10,000 while at the State Department, but Abedin is disputing the finding.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said last week that he had learned the State Department’s inspector general found potential evidence of wrongdoing during an investigation into Abedin’s simultaneous work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and the consulting firm Teneo.

The IG report has not been made public. Grassley wrote in a letter to Abedin last Thursday that the investigation "found at least a reasonable suspicion of a violation" of the conflict of interest statute due to "acts affecting a personal financial interest related to conflicts of interest connected to your overlapping employment.

An attorney for Abedin told the Washington Free Beacon that no criminal investigation has been opened.

"There is no criminal investigation and never has been," said Abedin’s attorney Karen Dunn. "Any implication otherwise is patently false and irresponsible."

Grassley also said the Senate Judiciary Committee has received allegations that Abedin was "solicited for and delivered favors for preferred individuals" while working at the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and Teneo.

Grassley cited one incident during which Teneo’s president, Doug Band, allegedly emailed Abedin and asked her to help get one of the company’s clients, Judith Rodin, a position at the White House. Band reportedly noted in the email that Rodin was also a Clinton Foundation donor.

"[Y]ou allegedly forwarded this email and others to your non-government account ending in," wrote Grassley. "As a result, investigators were unable to review any subsequent emails on the chain, as they were shielded from the Department’s records systems on Secretary Clinton's non-government server."

Grassley asked Abedin to turn over correspondence between the State Department and Teneo, as well as the company’s clients. He also requested other documents related to Abedin’s role at the State Department.

The senator also sent letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and State Department Inspector General Steve Linick asking for more information related to the investigation.

Abedin was one of Clinton’s closest aides at the State Department. She was designated a "special government employee" in June 2012, which allowed her to continue to work at the State Department while taking outside consulting jobs.

Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills was also designated as an SGE for five months in 2009, the Free Beacon first reported in June. During this time she also worked as general counsel for New York University, served on the board of NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, and sat on the board of the Clinton Foundation.

Special government employees, or SGEs, are exempt from some ethics rules. They are still subject to the criminal conflict of interest statute, which prevents federal employees from participating in government activities that financially benefit outside employers.

Published under: Hillary Clinton