07/26/2013 02:26 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2013

Chuck Grassley Steps Up Pressure On Huma Abedin Over State Department, Consulting Work

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) demanded more answers from Huma Abedin on Friday, after the wife of scandal-plagued New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner provided what the senator is calling insufficient information about her consulting work for both the State Department and outside employers.

In June, Politico reported that Abedin, a former aide and close personal friend to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, worked the larger part of her last year at the State Department as a part-time consultant who at the same time was allowed to represent clients in the private sector. She left the department in February 2013, but in the eight months between stepping down as Clinton's deputy chief of staff and her departure, Abedin reportedly worked for clients including the State Department, Hillary Clinton, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and Teneo, the firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band.

After the report, Grassley mounted an inquiry asking Abedin and State whether her dual roles at the department and with Teneo 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." Grassley pointed to financial disclosures, which showed Abedin had earned approximately $135,000 from the State Department while receiving $355,000 in consulting income, requesting documentation and responses to 17 questions about her tenure as a "special government employee” at the department.

This week, Abedin and the State Department gave their answer to Grassley's inquiry. The senator posted their response online. It stated that Abedin was aware of the ethics concerns and that her status had not constituted a conflict of interest.

“I was not asked, nor did I undertake, any work on Teneo’s behalf before the department (and I should note that it is my understanding that Teneo does not conduct business with the Department of State),” Abedin wrote in the letter, dated July 5. “I also was not asked, nor did I provide, insights about the department, my work with the secretary, or any government information to which I may have had access.”

Grassley shot back with a less-than-satisfied response, noting that he hadn't received detailed documents or responses to a number of questions.

“The purpose of my inquiry is to shed light on whether the program is being used as intended, not just by Ms. Abedin, but more broadly, as well. The State Department and Ms. Abedin should be willing to show the documents involved in administering the program to demonstrate good stewardship of tax dollars and the public interest,” he said. “So far, the State Department and Ms. Abedin haven’t provided a single document that I requested. Putting up a stone wall raises a lot more questions about how the program is being used than it answers. I intend to pursue more complete answers to my questions.”



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