WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley is continuing his inquiry into State Department personnel practices amid new information and allegations over a leave payment dispute involving a top aide and significant communications between the aide and an outside firm, potentially creating conflict of interest concerns. The employee, Huma Abedin, worked for the State Department as a Special Government Employee, an outside firm, Teneo, and the Clinton Foundation at the same time.
“This started as an inquiry about whether a federal personnel designation works as intended,” Grassley said. “As information came in, it evolved to focus on an agency that used the designation in a different way than others in at least one high profile case. Revelations of private email use and multiple jobs held at the same time by one individual raised more questions. Now, more details are coming in, and they warrant more questions. The bottom line is still whether the taxpayers are well-served by agency practices and spending. No one will know for sure until the State Department is more transparent about how it operates.”
Since June 2013, Grassley has sought information about the Special Government Employee designation at the State Department. He sought all communications between the State Department and Teneo after learning of Abedin’s dual employment. Revelations that Abedin reportedly had a private address on an email server in then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s personal residence and allegedly forwarded some official emails to that private address have raised more questions about the transparency of communications. In addition, these allegations shed light on possible interference of Freedom of Information Act requests by State Department officials.
Grassley recently received new allegations that Abedin received an undeserved payment for unused leave, to the concern of the Office of Inspector General; concerns over Abedin’s potential conflicts of interest, including reportedly being on thousands of emails with a Teneo aide connected to the Clintons, with an alleged request to help with an executive branch appointment for a Clinton Foundation donor; and suggestions that Abedin continued her Special Government Status to have her travel paid to and from New York.
Grassley asked for extensive records and communications on these allegations and information in letters to Secretary of State John Kerry; State Department Inspector General Steve Linick; and Abedin. His letters are available here, here and here.