One of the several lawsuits and congressional investigations that brought Hillary Clinton’s email scandal to light (contrary to her laughable assertions that she “voluntarily” disclosed anything) concerns her aide Huma Abedin’s very curious employment arrangement.
Abedin was working for the State Department full-time while simultaneously working for two private corporations: a consulting firm called Teneo established by one of Bill Clinton’s former aides, and the notorious “charity” known as the Clinton Foundation.
The possible conflicts of interest from this… unique arrangement are so obvious that calling them “possible” conflicts of interest is a bit of a joke, especially as it remains unclear what invaluable one-of-a-kind contributions to the State Department Abedin was supposedly making. The procedure invoked to grant her a special exemption from the usual conflict-of-interest rules was intended to bring extraordinary, indispensable talent from the private sector into government service on rare occasions, not make it possible for Democrat royalty to lavish taxpayer money on their favorite retainers while they also hold down lucrative private sector jobs.
The questions swirling around Abedin have grown thick enough to prod CNN into the story, as they note another unusual, and thus far under-reported, aspect of her remarkable State Department career: she founded a private company called Zain Endeavors LLC for herself, apparently using the name of her son, eleven days before she left the government’s employ.
A CNN review of public records shows that Zain Endeavors shares Abedin’s home address. And it also shares a name with Abedin’s son, Jordan Zain Weiner, suggesting the company could have been registered for her. Zain Endeavors LLC is registered with the New York Department of State.
There is nothing illegal about a private citizen creating a company, nor is it unprecedented for someone who is self-employed to form an LLC to provide them with legal protections and tax benefits. But the timing is noteworthy because some conservative lawmakers and outside groups have questioned whether Abedin’s consulting work for the State Department and private organizations created a conflict of interest.
Abedin is now a top official with Clinton’s presidential campaign. Her lawyers, State Department and Clinton campaign officials did not respond to questions about the company.
News of the existence of Zain Endeavors, which has not been previously reported, comes as Republicans scrutinize the longtime Clinton confidante’s working arrangement, including the State Department inspector general’s findings that Abedin was overpaid by almost $10,000 when she left the department as a full-time employee. She is disputing the findings.
One of the reasons this company has “not been previously reported” is that, as with all things Clinton, the State Department is dragging its feet and fighting every FOIA request and judicial order to the last inch. Judicial Watch, the watchdog group looking for details on Abedin’s employment, has filed a complaint about State’s failure to produce required information, while Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has formally inquired with Abedin about “the circumstances of your work arrangement, time and attendance while employed by the Department, potential conflicts of interest raised by your outside employment, and conversion from a full-time Department of State employee to a Special Government Employee and Senior Advisor to former Secretary Clinton.”
For her part, Abedin insists she was working all these jobs to help Clinton “prepare for her transition from public service” (isn’t that what her server-wiping specialists were for?), revise the “structure” of the Clinton Foundation to account for Her Majesty’s majestic post-State Department presence, and provide vaguely defined “strategic advice and consulting services” to Teneo, which she says had no business with the State Department, and did not benefit from her government position in any way.
Is this really a time when Americans struggling to emerge from Barack Obama’s limp economy want to hear about how super-rich politicians and their well-connected friends use accounting tricks and shell corporations to shovel money around and evade disclosure laws? Is this country tired of the parasitic aristocrats and bureaucrats living diamond-studded lives on our nickel, while working people struggle to make do with flat wages, rising costs (but don’t dare call it “inflation!”), and a declining workforce? Are the Republicans going to run a candidate who can stand tall and reasonably pure in opposition to the old ways of doing politicized business?
And will a beaten America simply resign itself to Hillary Clinton, her friends, and her donors getting rich off our backs, after eight years of Barack Obama doing it for his cronies… complaining about “income inequality” all the while? We don’t have to wait for formal charges to pass our own political judgment on a system in which all sorts of blatantly corrupt behavior is perfectly legal, and “transparency” is a joke, because there is much that is legal which should not be acceptable. We’ll get nothing better unless we unambiguously demand it.