The lawyer for a top aide to Hillary Clinton is accusing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Grassley leads Finkenauer by 18 points in hypothetical matchup: poll 62 percent in Iowa disapprove of Biden, poll shows MORE (R-Iowa) of making “unfounded allegations” about her employment situation while at the Department of State.
The letter from Huma Abedin’s lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, which was obtained by The New York Times, hits back at Grassley’s suggestions that Abedin was illegally overpaid during vacations and while on maternity leave during her time aiding the then-secretary of State. The letter also rebuts Grassley’s allegations that Abedin may have shown a conflict of interest by using her department clout to help a private consultant for whom she worked part-time.
Rodriguez reportedly claimed that Abedin was always working during trips for which she was paid at the State Department, and that she never used her government connections to get an official appointment for the head of a private client.
“We are deeply concerned that Chairman Grassley’s letter has unfairly tarnished Ms. Abedin’s reputation by making unsubstantiated allegations that appear to flow from misinformation that Chairman Grassley has been provided by an unnamed — and apparently unreliable — source,” Rodriguez wrote, according to the Times.
“No staffer — indeed, nobody at all — should be subject to such unfounded attacks based on ill-informed leaks, much less someone who has made countless personal sacrifices in distinguished service to the country she loves,” he added.
A spokeswoman for Grassley said that the senator was merely trying to obtain information from the “largely unresponsive” State Department.
“Senator Grassley’s inquiry is about whether government programs, such as the Special Government Employee designation, are working as intended in the public interest and as designed by statute and regulations,” the spokeswoman said.
“The best way for the department to address any claims of inaccuracy would be to fully answer Sen. Grassley’s questions, including providing emails requested more than two years ago.”
Abedin, now a top official with Clinton’s presidential campaign, was allowed to work as a “special government employee” while at the State Department, which meant that she could work for outside clients while she worked for the government.
That employment status has come under increasing scrutiny, especially from conservative organizations such as Judicial Watch that have launched a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department seeking to gain additional information about Abedin’s work. That ongoing lawsuit has become embroiled in the escalating controversy over Clinton’s personal email server while at State, which has entangled her presidential campaign.
Clinton’s former email server is now in the hands of the FBI.
Last week, a federal judge ordered the State Department to communicate with the FBI about obtaining messages on that server that might relate to the inquiry into Abedin’s employment, and raised the specter of taking additional steps to search Clinton’s machine.
— This story was updated at 4:10 p.m.