Grassley digs in on Clinton aide's 'special' work status

Grassley digs in on Clinton aide's 'special' work status
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The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is challenging both the State Department and Huma Abedin over the top Hillary Clinton aide's unusual former work status with the government.

On the heels of the release of new documents detailing Abedin’s ability to work for both the department as well as private contractors, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP braces for impeachment brawl PhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe MORE (R-Iowa) on Thursday pressed the Clinton adviser to hand over more information.

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“These emails illustrate why there are legitimate concerns about the department’s use of the [Special Government Employee] designation and the blurring of the lines between the official business of the State Department, the private interests of [advisory firm] Teneo, and the fundraising interests for various entities under the personal control of Secretary and former President Clinton,” Grassley wrote to Abedin, who now holds a top role in Clinton’s presidential campaign. 

“How can the taxpayer know who exactly you were working for at any given moment?” he added. “How can the ethics officer at the State Department know?”

While working as then-Secretary of State Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Abedin received permission from the department to serve as a Special Government Employee (SGE), allowing her to pursue work outside the government at the same time.

New documents revealed as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit suggest the lines between Abedin’s work for the government, for a private advisory firm and for Clinton’s foundation were often blurred.  

For instance, Grassley pointed to a set of 2012 emails in which Abedin discussed establishing a “Clinton Centre” in Ireland. During those discussions, Abedin invited private individuals helping out the Clinton Foundation and the firm Teneo to official events as part of Secretary Clintons’s travel to the country.

“All of this raises fundamental questions about your employment arrangements,” Grassley wrote.

The senator sent a similar letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking not just about Abedin’s employment but about the broader use of the SGE designation.

Grassley has kept up a probe of Abedin’s employment situation in recent weeks, which has earned the ire of the Clinton aide.

This week, Abedin’s lawyer accused Grassley of having “tarnished” her reputation “by making unsubstantiated allegations that appear to flow from misinformation that Chairman Grassley has been provided by an unnamed — and apparently unreliable — source.”

Grassley has worried that Abedin had been improperly overpaid during her time at the department and has demanded additional information from the government that he says it has been slow to hand over.