As Huma Abe­din works to get her boss elected pres­i­dent, her hus­band, An­thony Weiner, can’t avoid at­ten­tion

▶ A new film puts the dis­graced politi­cian back in the spot­light ▶ “I have no choice but to not let it de­bil­i­tate me”

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Contents - �Henry Gold­man and David Ko­cie­niewski

For a man who built a ca­reer on his abil­ity to be com­bat­ive on tele­vi­sion and yell on the floor of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, An­thony Weiner now lives a sur­pris­ingly placid life. He con­sults for clients on fed­eral reg­u­la­tions through his ad­vi­sory firm, Woolf Weiner As­so­ciates. He’s try­ing to get fund­ing for a char­ity pro­ject to train low-in­come res­i­dents of Far Rock­away, in Queens, N.Y., to get into the restau­rant busi­ness. The main fo­cus of his life is his 4-year-old son, Jor­dan, whom he takes to school and ice skat­ing. He’s as­sumed re­spon­si­bil­ity for pre­par­ing din­ner, un­pack­ing and cook­ing the Blue Apron meals or­dered by his wife, Hil­lary Clin­ton ad­viser Huma Abe­din. Once a week, Weiner plays goal­tender in a late-night hockey beer league. “I’m to­tally cool with this pace,” he says. “I’m not do­ing much, and that’s fine.”

Yet even in this low-key mode, Weiner can’t avoid at­tract­ing at­ten­tion. On Jan. 24, Weiner, a doc­u­men­tary chron­i­cling the demise of the for­mer Demo­cratic con­gress­man’s 2013 New York may­oral bid amid a sex­ting scan­dal—his

se­cond—will pre­miere at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val. Di­rected by Josh Krieg­man, for­merly Weiner’s district chief of staff, the movie has been ac­quired by IFC and Show­time, which are plan­ning a the­atri­cal re­lease in the spring and a TV air date shortly be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Clin­ton’s cam­paign didn’t re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

The film was the prod­uct of a deal Weiner cut with Krieg­man: un­fet­tered ac­cess to the cam­paign, in­clud­ing Abe­din, in ex­change for footage the can­di­date could use in cam­paign ads. The tim­ing of its re­lease, al­most three years af­ter it was filmed, threat­ens to draw un­flat­ter­ing at­ten­tion to his wife as the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing con­test takes off. “Hav­ing a pro­file like An­thony’s, it’s a dou­ble- edged sword,” says Risa Heller, who, like Weiner, worked as a staffer for U.S. Sen­a­tor Charles Schumer of New York. “You have to be able to han­dle his past, but he also had an in­cred­i­ble run in Congress. He’s a guy with bound­less en­ergy, big ideas, and a lot of smarts.”

Weiner’s lat­est brush with un­wel­come pub­lic­ity came in Septem­ber, when he was dropped by MWW Group, a pub­lic-re­la­tions firm in New Jersey that had hired him to ex­pand its New York pres­ence. Weiner was pushed out in part be­cause of his con­tin­u­ing ac­tiv­ity on Twit­ter, the ve­hi­cle for his first sex­ting scan­dal in 2011. (That be­gan af­ter he posted a link to a pho­to­graph of his erect pe­nis, con­cealed in a pair of boxer briefs, to his pub­lic feed rather than send­ing it via pri­vate di­rect mes­sage.)

Af­ter get­ting the MWW job, Weiner, who also ap­pears as a political com­men­ta­tor on the New York lo­cal news chan­nel NY1, posted tweets crit­i­cal of for­mer Gov­er­nor Ge­orge Pataki, a Repub­li­can. A Repub­li­can MWW part­ner close to Pataki ob­jected, Weiner says. The New York Post ran a story about the dis­cord he was caus­ing his new em­ployer. MWW Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Michael Kemp­ner de­clined to com­ment on the cir­cum­stances of Weiner’s de­par­ture from the firm.

Asked why he doesn’t just quit so­cial me­dia, Weiner cites his rights as a ci­ti­zen. “I have no choice but to not let it de­bil­i­tate me,” he says, speak­ing of the scan­dal. “It also doesn’t make me care any less, or make me think that if I have some­thing clever to say on Twit­ter I shouldn’t say it, or if I have an idea I shouldn’t es­pouse it, or if I have a com­pany that needs my help I shouldn’t help, or if some­one calls me for ad­vice on how to run for of­fice I shouldn’t sit down with him. I don’t know what my al­ter­na­tive is.”

The bot­tom line A doc­u­men­tary brings at­ten­tion back to for­mer Con­gress­man An­thony Weiner, whose ca­reer ended in a 2013 sex­ting scan­dal.

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