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Huma Abedin's Role At State Department Faces Scrutiny

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Huma Abedin, a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of embattled New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, is facing renewed scrutiny over her work as a consultant for outside clients while serving at the State Department.

As Politico reported in May, Abedin was employed as a "special government employee" during her final months in Foggy Bottom, an arrangement that allowed her to continue to work for the State Department while also consulting for private clients. During that time, her outside clients included the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a firm founded by former Bill Clinton adviser Doug Band.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has led the charge in pressing Abedin for more information on her arrangement, penning a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in June to request whether her work had been "adequately disclosed to government officials who may have provided her information without realizing that she was being paid by private investors to gather information." In July, Grassley said the State Department and Abedin were stonewalling his attempts.

On Sunday, the New York Times published a story raising further questions about Abedin's dual role, bringing the issue back into the spotlight as her husband's mayoral campaign continues to struggle amid his latest sexting scandal.

The Times reports:

The New York Times asked the State Department to provide the titles and job descriptions of other individuals the department has permitted to serve in the capacity of special government employee, and whether any of Mrs. Clinton’s other political appointees were given the special designation.

The department has declined to do so, citing issues of employee confidentiality.

“As a general policy, the Department of State does not disclose employee information of this nature,” a department spokesman, Alec Gerlach, said.

“Basic information about a special category of employees who earn a government salary shouldn’t be a state secret," Grassley said to the Times in response to the State Department. "Disclosure of information builds accountability from the government to the taxpaying public. Agencies that lose sight of transparency also lose public trust.”

While Abedin has yet to respond to the latest inquiries, in July she wrote Grassley, saying that the birth of her son in late 2011 prompted her to change her status in the department so she could spend more time in New York City.

“I certainly never ‘gathered information from government sources for the purpose of informing investment decisions of Teneo’s clients’ as the Senate letter suggests,” Abedin wrote in the July 17 letter.

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