Spin Cycle

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Weiner's mayoral preening puts wife, Clinton back on hot seat

Whether he’s bothered to take the five seconds needed to realize it, text-vexed-but-ambitious former Rep. Anthony Weiner has put his wife — again — into the public spotlight, in an undoubtedly unwelcome way, along with her longtime boss and mentor Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As first reported by Politico, Weiner’s personal disclosure leads to the revelation that Huma Abedin, while still on the State Department payroll, was allowed to represent private clients. This was while Clinton was winding down her time as secretary of state last year. Stated the news site:

Abedin, a fixture at the Clintons’ side for at least 15 years — from Iowa to Indonesia — shifted to her new role after maternity leave in the early summer of 2012, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.

The new status made her a “special government employee,” which was tantamount to being a consultant, according to the source, whose information was confirmed by two other staffers familiar with the matter. Multiple sources told POLITICO Abedin did work for other clients, which a friend of Abedin said totaled four, including the State Department, Hillary Clinton, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and Teneo, the firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band.

It’s the first time that Abedin’s changed status at State has been made public and comes as her husband, who resigned his Queens congressional seat amid scandal in 2011, is expected to launch a comeback mayoral campaign next week.(Full story here.)

All this will prompt questions from rivals and others as to what kind of cosseted treatment the Clinton crew enjoyed and the degree to which it posed a conflict of interest. All this could be fodder for problems if Clinton, despite public denials, becomes a presidential candidate in 2016. Who else was allowed to freelance? Is it true in other departments of the Obama administration?

If once Weiner jumps in to the mayoral race he tells us there’s nothing wrong with the arrangement, well, that’s one more reason to question whether he has any credibility. Or maybe it just means that under the Weiner administration, all moonlighting opportunities for police, firefighters and other city employees will be permitted, out of class fairness.


 

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