The New York Times has found few answers to the mysterious role top Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin played working for various Clinton-linked clients in the private sector.
Reports from May showed the State Department granted Abedin “special government employee” status, allowing her to work for high-end consulting firm Teneo, along with the Clinton Initiative and with Hillary Clinton personally.
But three months later, the Times has found its questions about Abedin’s “dual role” unanswered. Abedin has not disclosed how much she made from Teneo, the Clinton Initiative, or Mrs. Clinton, and the State Department has refused to say what kind of role Mrs. Clinton played in creating the special arrangement.
Sen. Charles Grassley is investigating the matter, but his office says it has faced numerous obstacles due to the State Department’s refusal to hand over key information.
“Agencies should be transparent about their operations,” the Iowa Republican said in a statement to The Times.
“Basic information about a special category of employees who earn a government salary shouldn’t be a state secret. Disclosure of information builds accountability from the government to the taxpaying public. Agencies that lose sight of transparency also lose public trust.”
Abedin said she was thorough in keeping her work at the State Department separate from her private consulting in a letter she wrote in response to Grassley’s inquiry.
Abedin, the wife of New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, also said her “special government employee” status was sought because she wanted to stay in New York after her son’s birth.
The consulting firm Abedin works for, Teneo, has also been scrutinized by the Times for blurring the line between charity and private profit. It was founded by former Bill Clinton aide and Coca Cola board member Douglas Band, who ran Teneo while overseeing one of the Clinton Foundation’s vast nonprofits, the Clinton Global Initiative.
Teneo came out of a desire “to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business.” It recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors, and boasted of Band’s personal relationship with Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global initiative.
“Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began,” the Times reported, prompting a review which culminated in Chelsea Clinton “taking on a dominant new role” in the foundation.
Band himself has been a key player in the Clinton empire. A “surrogate son to Mr. Clinton” as described by the Times, he is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
In a New Yorker story from last year, Band was described as saying he would consider voting for Mitt Romney as part of a strategy to put Hillary Clinton in a better strategic position in the 2016 presidential race.
“By some measures, a defeat for Obama in November would leave Hillary the undisputed leader of her party and propel her toward the Oval Office that much faster. At least one of [Bill] Clinton’s closest advisers seems to be backing that strategy,” the article read. “According to two people with direct knowledge, Douglas Band has said that he will vote for Romney. Band declined to comment.”
Band strenuously denied he would vote for Romney, calling the article “preposterous.”