State Department Finds No Evidence Clinton, or Top Aides, Completed Mandatory Ethics Training

Democratic US presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton samples ice cream at 'Mikey Likes It Ice Cream' in New York, in April 2016

The State Department was unable to find any records showing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completed ethics training courses, as required by federal law.

Furthermore, no documentation was found for a bevy of top Clinton aides, including names familiar from the Clinton email scandal, such as Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, Dennis Cheng, Anne Marie Slaughter, Phillippe Reines, Caitlin Klevorick, and Kris Bladerston.

The lack of ethics documentation was revealed by the Republican National Committee, which had to squeeze the admission out of the State Department with a lawsuit, after the department failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request. The RNC noted there is documentary evidence that Abedin was “notified by a State Department official in January 2013 that she had not completed her required annual ethics training,” and after some confusion, she promised to go online to complete the training, but State could find no evidence she actually did so.

Abedin’s unique work relationship with the State Department, in which she was simultaneously allowed to perform lucrative consulting for private-sector firms – including Teneo, a company founded by Bill Clinton’s onetime “body man” Doug Band, and the notorious Clinton Foundation – has been the subject of much controversy, a long-running investigation by watchdog group Judicial Watch, and inquiries by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) of the Judiciary Committee.

Thursday on the Breitbart News Daily radio show, former Donald Trump campaign consultant Roger Stone asked how someone with Abedin’s background could have been given the security clearance necessary to see the Top Secret documents Hillary Clinton has been handling, and mishandling.

“Abedin, Sullivan, and Cheng all currently hold senior positions on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign,” the RNC pointed out.

Reporting on the RNC’s findings, McClatchy News quoted State Department Director of Press Relations Elizabeth Trudeau cautioning against “drawing any conclusions simply from the absence of documentation provided in response to a FOIA request.” 

What’s the point of having a Freedom of Information Act if government agencies can fail to comply with it, and then chastise the public for drawing conclusions from their failure?

“Given the nature of the Clinton Foundation and questions raised about the donors to the foundation, one would think it would be a priority at the State Department,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. That sounds like a woefully naive assessment of Hillary Clinton’s priorities. She’s the SecState who unleashed chaos by setting up an illicit private email server to hide her correspondence from the American public and Congressional investigators, after all. Absolutely nothing we know about Clinton suggests that sending her top aides to some silly ethics training course was high on her to-do list.

McClatchy notes that fully 70 percent of presidentially-appointed State Department employees, and 50 percent of other employees, failed to complete the training in 2011, according to the Office of Government Ethics.

Trudeau claimed that after Clinton retired as Secretary of State, the Department “instituted online annual training, allowing better record keeping, and further emphasized the importance of ethics training and expanded training outreach.” Besides the comical notion of an agency upgrading its ethics training after a Clinton leaves, how does that square with Abedin saying she planned to go online to complete the ethics training while Clinton was still SecState?

The RNC posted a statement from chairman Reince Priebus on the matter:

The State Department’s own regulations say the responsibility for carrying out the agency’s ethics program rests with the secretary, and by all accounts, it was never a priority for Hillary Clinton.

The complete absence of records showing Clinton and her top aides completed annual ethics trainings required by federal law is par for the course for her tenure as secretary of state, where the rules didn’t seem to apply and pay-to-play was the name of the game.

Too much is at stake in this country to have our next president compromised by conflicts of interest with foreign donors and besieged by one scandal after another.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign weighed in as well, with a statement from senior communications adviser Stephen Miller: “Hillary Clinton and her aides reportedly skipped their ethics training. That would make sense since Hillary was planning a criminal enterprise trading government favors for cash. As she focused on personal enrichment, the Middle East went up in flames and ISIS exploded onto the globe.”

“Mr. Trump has proposed new ethics reforms to restore honor to our government, while Hillary Clinton is calculating how much money she can make selling the office of the Presidency for profit,” Miller added, as reported by Politico.

Eight years of Barack Obama, the biggest spender in history, brought us a titanic mega-government that claims it can run every industry in America better than its owners… but is utterly incapable of complying with the kind of workplace requirements it regularly demands from the private sector, or even keeping the most basic paperwork in order. Clinton would most likely be facing serious charges if she ran a private-sector operation as loosely as she ran the State Department. Since we all know nothing will actually happen to her, or any of her top aides, consider it yet another lesson in how “accountability” and “Big Government” are antonyms.


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