Abedin blames husband Weiner for not noticing extra $30,000
Federal investigators formally investigated top Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin for the crime of embezzlement after confirming she took a “Babymoon” vacation and maternity time at the State Department without expending her formal leave, resulting in thousands of dollars of pay she wasn’t entitled to receive, The Washington Times has learned.
The probe also gathered evidence she filed time sheets charging the government for impermissible overtime and excessive hours after she converted from a full-time federal employee to a State Department contractor.
Those timecards were filed during a period that remains under investigation over questions about possible conflicts of interest, documents gathered by the State Department inspector general show.
Ms. Abedin, who served as a deputy chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton from 2009 to late 2012, told investigators she hadn’t noticed she had received a $33,000 lump sum payment — about a third of which investigators determined was improper — when she left the State Department.
She suggested her husband, the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, failed to let her know.
“My husband handles all the finances in our household,” she told investigators during a recorded interview in October 2014.
She said she only learned of the payment after being contacted by investigators two years after her departure. “I did ask my husband to look up our bank statements, and we did have a deposit,” she said during her interview.
She also acknowledged it was likely she did not fill out the required form when she went on a two-week vacation to Europe in 2011 while she was pregnant — a trip she called a “Babymoon” in emails and her interview.
The failure to file the form resulted in her having excessive vacation time cashed out to her in the lump payment upon leaving government, investigators concluded.
“You are 100 percent right on the Babymoon. I don’t recall. One hundred percent right. I don’t recall filling out any paperwork saying I was taking leave,” she told the investigators. “I’m not even going to blame it on my pregnancy brain.”
The State Department’s inspector general formally concluded that Ms. Abedin failed to correctly submit multiple required time sheet and leave forms covering her vacation and maternity leave, resulting in an overpayment of $10,674.32 that she wasn’t entitled to receive when she left her job.
The Abedin investigation’s existence has been known for weeks, but the contents and findings have never been publicly released.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, has repeatedly questioned Ms. Abedin’s compensation and work arrangements under Mrs. Clinton, suggesting she was overpaid and may have engaged in conflicts of interest when she worked both for State as a contractor and a firm in New York connected to friends of the Clinton family.
Charges of smear job
Ms. Abedin’s lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, has accused the senator of a smear job in suggesting there was any criminality.
The documents provided to The Times by a source outside the Senate or the IG’s office make clear, however, the inquiry was clearly criminal in nature and ultimately referred to federal prosecutors.
Mr. Rodriguez did not immediately return a call seeking comment from The Times on Wednesday.
However, he sent a letter to the OIG disputing its conclusions, saying investigators should have credited Ms. Abedin for the time she worked while off rather than demand she repay the money.
“I am deeply troubled by gaps in the
Huma Abedin, aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is under formal investigation for alleged misappropriation of taxpayer funds she took during various leaves from work and while working as a private contractor.