September 28, 2015

Conflict Of Interest: New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal Government & Private Work Overlapped

New emails released by Citizens United reveal Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who worked simultaneously for the State Department and Teneo, did in fact face scenarios that could only be described as a conflict of interest:

In November 2012, Kris Balderston, then in charge of the Global Partnership Initiative in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office, sent an email about a potential joint initiative involving the State Department and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The email was sent to a group of people, including Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton, and to Thomas Shea, who at the time was one of the managing directors of Teneo, the firm where Ms. Abedin had a contract as a consultant, and which represented the Rockefeller Foundation.

Ms. Abedin quickly replied that she needed to be removed from the discussion because she was concerned about a conflict of interest.

Abedin’s status as a “Special Government Employee” has been the focus of media attention since it was made public, and these newly released emails shed light on the overlapping work in her roles at the State Department and Teneo, which had business before the State Department. A report from Politico illustrates this overlap:

Abedin’s legal team maintains that the part-time jobs were appropriate and approved by Abedin’s supervisors at State and that she did nothing wrong. Indeed, in the email request obtained by POLITICO, there is no evidence that Abedin interceded on behalf of Teneo as it sought a new appointment for Judith Rodin, a Teneo client and the president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

Rodin, a former White House appointee to the White House Council for Community Solutions, did not get the appointment Teneo was seeking. The Rockefeller Foundation paid Teneo $5.7 million in 2012 to do public relations work but no longer works with the firm.

As more emails are unearthed, further conflicts of interest are sure to be revealed, all casting doubt on Clinton’s judgment as head of the Department.