Anthony Weiner may have violated federal law when he failed to disclose his lavish six-figure wedding in his financial disclosure forms, says a government accountability group.
Ethics watchdog group National Legal and Policy Center examined the federal Financial Disclosure Reports for both Weiner and long-suffering wife Huma Abedin for 2010, the year of their wedding.
The cost for the ceremony was at least $100,000 but probably ran closer to $250,000 including all accommodations, clothing and extras. Neither Weiner nor Abedin had the resources to pay for the ultra-expensive wedding, yet neither recorded gifts on their Financial Disclosure Reports for that year.
Even though there is an exemption for gifts from personal friends, the Ethics in Government Act requires written permission from the House Ethics Committee for any Congressman getting gifts worth more than $250. Weiner had no such written permission.
NLPC was preparing a complaint to the House Ethics Committee in 2011 against Weiner for filing a false Financial Disclosure Report when Weiner resigned from Congress after the first of his many sexting scandals, leaving the Committee without jurisdiction to take up an investigation.
NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm stated, “Knowingly filing a materially false Financial Disclosure Report not only violates the Ethics in Government Act but also the False Statements Accountability Act, a federal criminal statute. The public is entitled to know who paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars it apparently cost for Weiner to pay for such an extravagant wedding reception. Weiner is not above the law.”
House rules allow a waiver for wedding gifts but there must be a written waiver request and there must be disclosure on the Financial Disclosure Reports. A Member can seek a waiver of the disclosure reports but that request is open to the public.
Abedin and Weiner were married in Oheka Castle on Long Island in 2010, which was “Long Island’s most expensive wedding venue,” according to Newsday in January 2011. “The average wedding cost — $100,000 — does not include flowers, photography, band and hotel rooms.”
Abedin’s wedding dress may have been almost as expensive as the wedding. Made by world-famous designer and dressmaker to Hillary Clinton, Oscar de la Renta, the custom dress would have gone for over $50,000.
Another Clintonite, Bryan Rafanelli, was the wedding planner, some three weeks before he did Chelsea Clinton’s nuptials. The event was officiated by Bill Clinton, even though according to state law Clinton could not legally perform the marriage.
Abedin made only $135,000 annually working for the State Department, according to financial disclosures. Anthony Weiner made $175,000 as a congressman.
What is not known is how much Abedin made while working as a consultant and when that work began. Abedin has rejected attempts by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa to ascertain how much she was paid and by whom.