One of the scandals buzzing around Clintonworld concerns the alleged abuse of personal time off by one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, Huma Abedin. She’s accused of collecting about $10,000 in salary over-payment by taking time off without logging those days as vacation or sick time, effectively collecting double pay for the days in question.
It is also said that she billed the State Department for more hours than her very, very, very special work arrangement as a hybrid Clinton aide/employee of the private Clinton Foundation/employee of a Clinton crony should have allowed.
She is indisputably responsible for failing to log her time off – it’s a matter of documented fact – but she’s getting a pass, because while the State Department conducted a criminal investigation of her activities, the Obama Justice Department decided not to pursue charges… without even bothering to say why not.
Try to contain your surprise.
The news from Politico about this development contains one sordid detail after the next. It’s predictable, but still bizarre, to watch Clinton partisans claim this is some kind of “vindication” for Abedin. No one who actually pays attention to the details will see it as anything but further proof that political elites, especially Democrats, live by different rules than the rest of us. Not to say that Republican elites aren’t writing plenty of special rules for themselves, mind you, but at least their worst abuses have a chance of blowing up into big, shameful media stories.
For one thing, the existence of the State Department’s criminal inquiry was kept secret with a string of lies, including lies told to Congress. Politico is reporting on it now because it obtained a copy of the formal notice given by “State’s watchdog” – a term they repeatedly use to mean the Inspector General’s office, not a private “watchdog” group like Judicial Watch – to the FBI.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had been trying to confirm for weeks that State’s watchdog elevated the disagreement about Abedin’s time and attendance record into its own “criminal” inquiry. An inspector general, however, does not have the power to bring criminal charges against someone — it can only refer it to the Justice Department.
Abedin’s lawyers have acknowledged the $10,000 overpayment issue weeks ago and said they’re fighting it. They maintain that she was actually working during the maternity leave and vacation time, though it doesn’t appear she properly logged the information into the State Department system. But they’ve denied that the overpayment dispute, widely known, ever turned into a criminal investigation.
“There is no criminal investigation and never has been,” said Miguel Rodriguez, an attorney at Bryan Cave, said a month ago in response to questions about a criminal investigation. “To say otherwise is just patently false and needlessly inflammatory.”
Senator Grassley was not pleased to learn these people were lying through their teeth about whether Abedin was under criminal investigation. When he asked how they could possibly justify concealing the probe, the lawyers essentially claimed that they don’t think Inspector General probes of potential criminal activity really count as “criminal probes.”
They think their spin about Abedin just sort of… forgetting to log $10,000 worth of time off should be considered objective reality by everyone, including the taxpayers who cover that salary and their congressional representatives, until and unless someone with a badge marches Abedin away in cuffs.
One of the funny little details in the Politico story is that Abedin’s lawyers are furious that the State Department IG entitled its report “Human Abedin, Embezzlement.” They wrote State a letter shrieking that the claim is “so unsubstantiated and unsupported that beyond mentioning it as an allegation, the report never mentions it again.” But hang on a second, guys… aren’t you justifying your concealment of the criminal probe from Grassley’s committee by saying it didn’t really count? Which is it?
Clintonworld spinmeisters treat what Abedin did as a silly little oopsie, a matter of forgetting to check off a box here and there on some dreary paperwork, but this is a huge and deliberate action with a sizable dollar value attached. If anyone who isn’t an elite political operative has ever gotten away with “forgetting” to log $10,000 worth of time off at a private-sector job, or unilaterally deciding that you’re still really working even when you’re on vacation so you should still get paid, drop your story in the comments section below – I’m sure it will make a fascinating read.
As for the overbilling of hours worked under Abedin’s special, and utterly inexplicable, exemption for conflict of interest laws, the IG “concluded that Abedin worked 244 days as a special employee, exceeding the 130 day limit imposed under federal law. Her lawyer said there was no way she worked that much, but did not offer a number he thought was more accurate.”
Of course he didn’t. Reality is whatever the elite and their lawyers say it is, no matter what the actual text of the laws might say. Elites get to blow off simple reporting requirements and pretend they don’t understand the terms of their work agreements, even though they have sizable retinues of taxpayer-funded assistants and layers to help them comply. You, on the other hand, are going to be in a great deal of trouble if you decide to bill nearly twice as many hours as your contract allows, dear reader.
The special status Abedin was granted to work as both a private-sector employee (at two different operations!) and a State Department employee was intended to put people with irreplaceable skills at the service of government without losing their private jobs, not allow Hillary Clinton’s friends to pick up fat paychecks from both the taxpayers and her cronies while flying around the world with her as personal assistants. There was no reason to make such an extraordinary arrangement with Abedin for services any number of qualified State Department employees could have rendered.
That’s a trivial consideration for Democrat royalty, of course, but those of us who finance their regal lifestyles are getting a bit tired of hearing that we need to be satisfied with less, and obey every last dot and comma in an ever-growing maze of regulations. For the elites, meanwhile, the authorities can mysteriously decide not to pursue charges for no stated reason, despite a mountain of evidence, and it’s treated as “vindication.’
One other amusing detail of the Abedin case comes from the Washington Times, which recalls the Clinton aide claiming in October 2014 that she didn’t even know about the improper payment for unused vacation time she received, because “my husband handles all the finances in our household.”
When investigators asked why she didn’t log the time off for the “babymoon” two-week vacation in Europe she took while pregnant, she never really offered an answer beyond saying “I’m not even going to blame it on my pregnancy brain” – which, of course, is a passive-aggressive way of blaming it on precisely that condition.
That’s not exactly what you’d expect to hear from the top aide to a feminist “icon” who plans to accuse everyone who opposes her of counter-revolutionary misogyny. Also, the husband in question would be Anthony Weiner – the disgraced former congressman and class-war blowhard who resigned after he got caught sending pictures of his genitalia to young women with his cell phone.
Weiner has been instructed to stay away from Hillary Clinton’s fundraisers. Is that because his antics made him such an embarrassment, or because his wife says he’s not very good at handling finances?