The name Huma Abedin might be best known to you as the wife of disgraced former Congressman and former New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. But it is her relationship with Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department that is of interest to Judicial Watch.
Recently, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Obama State Department seeking access to all records detailing contracts between the State Department and Abedin, as well as the Clinton aide’s outside employment while under contract with the State Department.
Here is what we’re after pursuant to our May 21, 2013, FOIA request:
- Any and all SF-50s (Notification of Personnel Actions forms) for Ms. Huma Abedin.
- Any and all contracts (including, but not limited to, personnel service contracts) between the Department of State and Ms. Huma Abedin.
- Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the authorization for Ms. Huma Abedin to represent individual clients and/or otherwise engage in outside employment while employed by and/or engaged in a contractual arrangement with the Department of State.
The State Department acknowledged receiving Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on June 5, 2013, and was required by law to respond within 20 working days. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, State hasn’t bothered to give any real response.
(Per the New York Post, “A State Department official said that the agency “takes seriously its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and will handle this request [from Judicial Watch] accordingly, as it does all requests.” I’ll believe it when I see it.)
So now that you know what we’re after, here is the “why.”
Abedin left the State Department in February 2013, and in May 2013, Politico broke the story that, since June 2012, she had been working as a “special government employee” (SGE), a consultant position allowing her to represent outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. While working as a SGE, Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.
While Abedin has failed to disclose the exact nature of her work on behalf of Teneo, the firm describes its activities as providing “the leaders of the world’s most respected companies, nonprofit institutions and governments with a full suite of advisory solutions.” [Emphasis added] Outside of the U.S., it maintains offices in Dubai, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Brussels, Zurich, and Munich. Teneo was also the subject of various investigative reports, including by the New York Times, which raise questions about its relationship with the Clinton Foundation.
Can you see how Abedin’s work for the State Department and her consulting work could lead to some serious conflicts of interest?
As is so often the case with the Clintons, or those close to them, Ms. Abedin’s questionable dealings are wrapped in secrecy. Hence the stonewalling. And this is not the first time.
JW is also in court to obtain records detailing potential conflicts of interest involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself! From the moment President Obama nominated Clinton as the nation’s top diplomat, red flags popped up all over the place regarding her husband’s international ventures.
Obama may have “struck a deal” with Hillary over these complex relationships, but is that supposed to make us feel comfortable?
Well, it doesn’t. Especially when you consider the fact that, among those vetting Mrs. Clinton for the job of Secretary of State was Bill Clinton’s former deputy White House counsel Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton family confidant, who, the Washington Post wrote in 1999, “endeared herself to the Clintons with her never-back-down, share-nothing, don’t-give-an-inch approach.”
After clearing Mrs. Clinton for the State Department job, Mills was named the incoming Secretary’s Chief of Staff. Ms. Mills was a featured speaker at Bill Clinton’s 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. Mills most recently was in scandal news, getting angry with a Benghazi whistleblower “for cooperating with the investigators without having State Department lawyers present,” per the Daily Caller.
There is only one thing that will satisfy Judicial Watch, and it has nothing to do with promises from the White House regarding the veracity of its vetting process. We want transparency with respect to the records we seek. And that is why we’re in court. Given the current stonewall, one can only suspect the Obama State Department has something to hide about the ethical conduct of one of its more controversial appointees.