State Department investigators reportedly determined that Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s closet aides, was overpaid by roughly $10,000 during her time at State.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Abedin was overpaid as a government employee as a result of a failure to request leave when taking time away from the job. Abedin is challenging that finding, arguing she was still working even when removed from her work environment.
In his letter to Kerry, Grassley said he had learned of an inspector general probe of “potential criminal conduct” by Abedin, and also inquired about possible conflicts of interest. While working as a close aide to Clinton when she was secretary of State, Abedin also worked at the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a private firm with Clinton ties.
The improper payments came about after Abedin was paid roughly $33,000 for unused leave as part of her compensation at the State Department. In her three and a half years as a government employee, Abedin never requested any vacation or sick leave and instead was paid for that unspent time.
But Grassley said his committee had “received allegations” that she actually was on leave several times but never formally requested the time off. He said there were emails in which Abedin stated she was “on leave” and she allegedly took a 10-day trip to France and Italy with her husband without using any leave time.
In his letter to Kerry, Grassley also asked for details regarding how Abedin juggled her multiple professional roles, and whether she was pushed to deliver favors for “preferred individuals.”
In one example, Grassley said Abedin was reportedly asked by Douglas Band, Teneo’s president, to urge Clinton to encourage President Obama to nominate a particular person to a White House position. Grassley said this individual, Judith Rodin, was a Teneo client at the time and a major Clinton Foundation donor.
Grassley added in his letter that that cae was “but one of several troubling allegations.”
A Grassley spokeperson told the Post that the senator had not verified the allegations himself, but was seeking a detailed update from the State Department and its inspector general.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment, and Abedin’s attorney told the Post that she was formally contesting the findings, arguing that she did extensive work while on the trip abroad and while on maternity leave.
“Huma Abedin is widely known as one of the hardest-working people in all of Washington during the nearly two decades she was in public service,” said Abedin’s attorney Karen Dunn. “The IG report found a multitude of instances when she was working even when she was on maternity leave, yet its central charge was that she owes back pay for work missed while on leave. It simply doesn’t add up.”