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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez: Expand Obamacare to Undocumented Immigrants

David Eldridge

Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez, one of Congress’ most outspoken advocates for immigrants, on Wednesday called for expanding the Affordable Care Act to cover all of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States.
“The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law,” the Illinois Democrat said in a floor speech introducing his proposed legislation.
Gutierrez, D-Ill., speaks during a House Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, to discuss plans to educate immigrant communities for the implementation of the executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama in November. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Gutierrez calls for an expansion of Obamacare. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
“As it stands right now, undocumented immigrants are not subject to the individual mandate and cannot buy into health insurance exchanges even if they use their own money.  My legislation will change that.  It says that we stand for inclusion.”
Citing last week’s papal address to Congress (the pope repeatedly urged U.S. lawmakers to follow “the Golden Rule”), Gutiérrez said: “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving.’”
The Gutiérrez proposal faces long odds in the House, where proposals to overhaul immigration have been stymied by Republicans who say the federal government has to address holes in border security first.


Russia is the New Hegemon

James Lewis

Under Obama and the Left, America has retreated from the world. We have abandoned our allies, all the way from Japan and South Korea to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Obama has supported the paleofascist Ikhwan (brotherhood) in the Sunni Arab world, and Iran in the Shi'ite half of Islam. China has snatched a major part of the South China Sea, with its undersea mineral wealth. Russia is gradually pushing Europe back from the East.
While Obama was distracting you with Mohammed the bomb-faking kid, Russia made a major anti-Iran, anti-Obama move in Syria, sending a reported 2,000 personnel to take over a large Syrian airbase in Latakia, along with the naval port of Tartous.
Putin is a strategic opportunist, and his chess game isn't hard to guess. We know he wants to exploit American weakness and betrayal of our allies to rebuild Russia as a superpower.
Russia's big move into Syria is designed to accomplish several objectives.
First, Putin is propping up Syrian president Assad. This seems to serve Iran's strategy of surrounding the Arab Sunnis and Israel in a Shi'ite Crescent. But in fact, Putin has just sliced the Iranian Crescent in half by interposing a blocking force. Assad will owe his survival to Uncle Putin, not the theocracy of Iran.
Putin has an alliance of convenience with Tehran, but Russia has centuries of experience fighting Muslim enemies, all the way to the end of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Putin has battled Muslim rebels in Chechnya and doesn't need a rising nuclear Caliphate next door, an hour's flight from Russia’s borders.
Putin is nobody's friend. He is a Russian nationalist, with a close domestic alliance with the Orthodox Church, just like the czars.
In the Armageddon world Obama has allowed to rise, Putin is a rational player compared to the suiciders of Iran.
As usual, Putin is playing a double game, helping to build Iranian nuclear power stations, each of which is also a big, fat target for air or missile attack. Putin is taking money to sell Iran 100 long-distance air-refueling planes designed to project military power far from their Iranian bases. The trouble is that those planes put Russia well within the flight radius of Iran's new nuke bombs. So Putin just sliced Iran's pincer movement around Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel.
Move, countermove.
Putin claims to want to fight ISIS. He may do so. It's good cover, and would give Russia military clout in Iraq and parts of Syria.
Putin desperately needs a bigger energy supply to maintain his political clout in Europe, to supply Russia with fuel, and to try to set up a second OPEC with Russia at the top.
By rescuing the Saudis and Israel from Iranian aggression, Putin is piling up IOU's in the fast-changing world of energy politics. The world price of oil is collapsing with the spread of shale exploitation, and there is no way to stop it. China is becoming a shale producer in the South China Sea.
Russia's new military position in Syria gives him clout in the jihad war: near Turkey, now under Islamofascist Erdogan; blocking Iran, the Obama-favored regional hegemon; and as the new superpower protector of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil producers.
Russia's Syrian bases are also pressuring the Eastern Mediterranean, with its new shale energy discoveries; the Eastern flank of NATO; and the Balkans, under increasing threat from Iranian and Sunni subversion.
Western Europe keeps importing hostile Muslim populations from Pakistan, Africa, and the Middle East. The Germans just collapsed in the face of a phony invasion by thousands of "refugees," many men of military age, who did not bother to hide their hatred for their new welfare hosts. Europe's flabbiness is an open invitation to aggressors, both Russia and Islam, and Russia seems more rational.
Muslim infiltration and power-buying in Europe goes back to the rise of OPEC in the 1970s. The French have a long history of allying with Russia against Germany, and today they seem to be rebuilding that alliance to keep 50 million militant Muslims in check. Only Russia has the will and the military capacity to resist jihad by infiltration. France just launched a bombing raid against ISIS training camps, which happened to coincide with Putin's troop movement into Syria, which also claims to be a move against ISIS.
Our (former) allies, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, having been backstabbed by Obama, are not saying a word against the Russian move into Syria. They may not trust Putin, but they can make deals with him. They know what he wants. Saudi Arabia can offer oil and price coordination with Russia, and help to control the Chechen rebels. Israel can utilize its new shale discoveries in the Eastern Med, and is a valuable source of badly needed technology; Egypt is in desperate straits in fighting ISIS and the Ikhwan, and can use direct military help in the Sinai Desert. Even Jordan has been directly threatened by the Iranians.
One big name is missing in all this: America.
Obama has sucked the air out of our alliances and Putin is filling the vacuum. Our own government is essentially shafting us, too, by blocking domestic oil production, for one example.
The environmental movement has always helped the Arab oil producers by creating a phony psychology of oil scarcity, putting the Saudis in control of the world price of oil.
As long as Obama is in power, things are likely to get worse for America.
By sacrificing sixty years of Pax Americana the Left has taking a wild, historic gamble. The Left hates the American ideal, and expects to benefit from Obama's dictatorial shenanigans.
It's a paradox that Vladimir Putin, who saw the Soviet model crumble, is now allied with the last powerful church in the world to become the rising new hegemon.
America got infiltrated and suckered. The new powers won’t be nice guys. 

Romney's viable GOP candidates; excludes Trump, Carson

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., on  Jan. 28, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 28, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Stephen Dinan
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney listed a half-dozen Republican candidates he said could qualify as mainstream conservatives his party could live with in a general election — and said he didn’t think Donald J. Trump was one of those.
Mr. Romney, a two-time candidate who was the party’s standard-bearer in 2012, ticked off New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and businesswoman Carly Fiorina as viable options.
He also said he doesn’t disqualify Mr. Trump because of his business experience, but rather because of poor understanding of foreign policy — particularly after the candidate’s statements in recent days that he would leave Syria to Russian influence.
“I thought that was both absurd and dangerous,” Mr. Romney said at the Aspen Institute’s ideas forum in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Romney did not mention retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who along with Mr. Trump and Ms. Fiorina has captured an anti-establishment sentiment within the GOP primary electorate.
Mr. Romney said the rise of what he called “insurgent” candidates is a symbol of voters’ frustration with nothing getting done in Washington. The former one-term Massachusetts governor proposed changing the Senate’s filibuster rule, saying that when the Senate is controlled by a different party than the president, the filibuster should go away.
He said that elevates issues and lets voters see Congress working, and leaves the president a check on bills he doesn’t like.
“Let him veto them if he feels they’re not appropriate,” Mr. Romney said.
Mr. Romney lost the 2012 presidential election to President Obama in a contest GOP analysts had said should have been winnable.
The GOP has been struggling to figure out the lessons from that defeat for the last three years.
Mr. Romney said he would have done some things differently in hindsight, and singled out the need to “do a better job connecting with minority voters.”

Putin Plays Obama, The Fool

Update: Russian planes hit opposition forces and not Isis. Tell US to stay out of Syria Air.

theodore miraldi.

Putin's vision of Russia's future has nothing to do with Obama's will, or his rhetoric. Putin plays the power game with real power, and not empty words. Obama is not a leader, Putin is. 

Putin doesn't ask his public for permission, on national security, his only concern is the taking advantage of the power vacuum left behind by Obama's fickle policy failures. Obama draws in anyone who he can blame if things go wrong. Putin make no excuses.

Make no mistake, Putin readily admits the fall of the Soviet Union has been a tragedy for his nation, and so, his efforts to destabilize American power is payback for our role in the demise of Russia power in the region, and the world. 

The world knows Obama can easily be played. He's the doe in the headlights, and the product of our failures as a nation.

Putin is playing chess with an ego maniac who plays basketball...enough said!  It's the bookworm and the gladiator.

Obama so fearful of his legacy that he will watch the world burn and feign concern, so he can say he tried. Putin has honed his craft in real world events, Obama toyed with the children in the classroom.

Russia, and its proxies are going to push changing the alignment of the world while it can, as long as Obama occupies the Oval Office.

Solidifying power in the richest region of the world is not an accident, be confident Putin will prevail

Putin knows our Emperor is a coward, and a fool. 

He has the record to prove it.

Is Newt Gingrich the answer for divided House Republicans?

 Jonah Goldberg
Almost exactly seven years ago, House Speaker John Boehner said of the Wall Street bailout bill, “I think this thing is a crap sandwich” — but he’d vote for it anyway. I remarked at the time, “It’s crap sandwiches for as far as the eye can see” — and I was right.
Boehner finally had his fill of the meal, opting to push away from the table, as it were. On Friday, he announced he’ll be resigning the speakership and his seat.
Boehner has become a lightning rod for a large segment of the base that is simply fed up with GOP failures, both real and imagined, in the age of Obama.
Some say he quit because he was going to be fired. People on the Hill tell me that’s not necessarily so. But what’s clear is that going through with a no-confidence vote would have put many House Republicans in a terrible spot.
Boehner might have even needed Democratic votes to help him keep his job. A speaker who cannot earn the support of a majority of his own caucus would be a political eunuch.
Was all this fair to Boehner? I like Boehner personally, and I think he got more grief than he deserved, which is different than saying he didn’t deserve any of the grief he got. But, ultimately, fair’s got nothing to do with it.
When the leader becomes an impediment to his members, it’s time for him — or her — to go. The question now is what to do about it.
Meanwhile, it appears the dogs have no idea what to do now that they’ve caught the car.
If the plan was to take Boehner’s scalp, hang the “Mission Accomplished” banner. If the plan was to really change things at the top, it appears Boehner’s enemies came up short.
Boehner’s right-hand man, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as of now seems poised to slide right into the No. 1 spot.
I like McCarthy. Heck, everyone likes McCarthy. A former whip, he’s the consummate vote-wrangler, which is why he’s so well-positioned.
Many conservatives outside of Congress want to grade replacement candidates on an ideological spectrum, and on that metric, McCarthy probably comes up short. But many conservatives inside Congress suspect that while McCarthy might be a less conservative leader, he would be a much more responsive follower.
The other potential replacements — Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) — are solid conservatives with a much deeper grasp of policy than McCarthy. The irony is that they may not get the spot precisely because they have more fully formed legislative and ideological priorities of their own. The base wants the speaker to follow their lead.
The real reason no one challenged Boehner sooner is that the speakership is a lousy, thankless job, at least while President Obama continues to treat Congress with contempt. The speaker sits between competing firing squads.
In the realm of the plausible, I’d probably pick Hensarling. Fortunately, as a columnist, I don’t have to stay within the guardrails of the plausible. So here’s an idea.
There is nothing in the Constitution that says the speaker must be an elected member of the House. The House could pick anyone from Carrot Top to Oprah as speaker. Those options don’t make any sense (though Oprah would probably place some wonderful gifts under members’ seats). But there is one nonmember who might bring the skills the moment requires: Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich was the architect of the “Contract with America.” He led Republicans to the first congressional majority in 40 years. His speakership was not without faults, but Gingrich has matured. At 72, he is literally an elder statesman of the party and still one of its most gifted communicators.
He also happened to be, for a while, the first choice for president in 2012 among many of the same people who wanted Boehner’s head. He knows how backbench firebrands think, because he was one himself.
More important, he’s got an encyclopedic grasp of the institution’s power and limitations.
Since no one seems to have thought about what to do after getting rid of Boehner, Gingrich may be the ideal placeholder until Congress gets its act together. He poses no long-term threat to anyone’s ambitions, and in the short term he could be a unifying figure.
Gingrich always believed he had another rendezvous with destiny. Tanned, rested and ready, he may just be the guy to get that sandwich off the cafeteria menu.

Trump morphs into a real candidate

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump holds a Bible as he speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's annual fall dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump holds a Bible as he speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's annual fall dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

First they ignored him. Then they mocked him. Then they tried tearing him down.
With each failure to destroy Donald Trump, the political experts and establishment stooges only made him stronger. And now they don’t have a clue what to do.
Those in Washington who still think a Donald Trump presidency is preposterous or absurd have only themselves to blame for creating an environment that has made it so easy for the swashbuckling, smack-talking businessman to rise so effortlessly to the top of the heap.
It turns out that not only does the man enjoy very high energy, he also has incredible stamina. His staying power is a-MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZ-ing.Mr. Trump is outlasting all of his harshest critics and is now outlasting some of the surest favorites running for the Republican nomination.
Scott Walker was the man to beat. He was a professional political expert with executive experience. He had won real political battles. And he accomplished all that without enduring the political mark of Cain: residing in Washington.
His campaign’s spectacular collapse — rivaled only by that of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — is sure not to be the last.
Already, the jackals in the press have caught the scent of death around Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign and have begun circling and letting loose their heinous laughs.
The most alarming thing about Donald Trump for these people is that they have, literally, thrown everything they can at the man. And, yet, he is still standing, completely unbowed. In the 3½ months since he launched his campaign, his popularity has only grown with every sling and arrow.
They have accused him of rape and tarred him as a racist. They smeared him as a traitor. And, yet, Teflon Don remains undented, the toupee-less man unruffled.
In the process, Mr. Trump has accomplished something no one thought possible. Meticulously, methodically, patiently, Mr. Trump has morphed into a legitimate candidate.
He just released the latest of three very serious policy position papers, this one on taxes. The first two were on illegal immigration and guns — filling out a veritable triumvirate of most important issues for all conservatives and many independents.
Each paper is deeply sophisticated and principled. And when was the last time a candidate for president got wall-to-wall coverage for releasing a policy paper?
Certainly not when Jeb Bush released his policy position this week on, and I am not making this up, “energy.”

“Unleash the energy revolution!” announced his campaign. Not to be confused with the “low energy” Mr. Trump is constantly accusing Mr. Bush of having.

Abedin paid for Event for Bill days after Benghazi

Huma Abedin, long-time aide of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was paid by a private firm to help stage an event with former President Bill Clinton. (Associated Press)

Photo by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Huma Abedin, long-time aide of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was paid by a private firm to help stage an event with former President Bill Clinton. (Associated Press)

While still working at the State DepartmentHillary Rodham Clintonconfidante Huma Abedin was paid by the private consulting firm Teneo Holdings to help stage a star-studded reception that included her boss’ husband, Bill Clinton, along with George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as speakers just days after the Benghazi tragedy, The Washington Times has learned.
Ms. Abedin’s work on the Sept. 20, 2012, event at the glamorous Essex House in New York City, helped entertain potential Teneo clients, wowing them with access to three former world leaders on a single stage.
It was one of the specific projects she worked on with Teneo during a seven-month period in which she earned a $15,000-a-month consulting fee from the firm while simultaneously receiving pay as a “special government employee” advising Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, according to interviews and documents.
Ms. Abedin, the wife of former Rep. Anthony D. Weiner of New York, worked as a full-time government employee and deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton from 2009 through mid-2012. She then moved to New York and transitioned to a part-time employee at State after giving birth to her first child and seeing her husband resign his congressional seat because of a sexting scandal.
The special government employee status at the State Departmentallowed Ms. Abedin to simultaneously take on other consulting work, as with Teneo and the Clinton Foundation, where she assessed the charity’s ongoing programs to pave the way for Mrs. Clinton’s return there after she left the State Department in early 2013.
In all, Ms. Abedin was paid about $105,000 over seven months to adviseTeneo in New York from summer 2012 to early 2013, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. During the same time, she collected $126,239.80 in pay as a special government employee at theState Department, according to internal department records identifying her pay and leave that were obtained by The Times.
The specific nature of Ms. Abedin’s duties at Teneo has been shrouded in mystery and has become the subject of State Department and congressional inquiries looking into whether the work arrangements were proper or created any conflicts of interest.
Several sources agreed to describe Ms. Abedin’s work for Teneo on theNew York event and her subsequent work at the State Department for aTeneo-connected event in Ireland four months later in December, solely on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigations.
Huma’s role for the New York event was on behalf of Teneo, while her work for the Ireland event was clearly on behalf of the State Department. But the firm, the Clintons and Huma were intertwined, and that makes it hard to separate when looking back in hindsight,” one person directly familiar with the circumstances said.
Added another source: “Teneo didn’t need Huma to get Bill Clinton or the other luminaries to the event, but she was hired to help make the event successful in terms of who attended and what they experienced.”
Teneo officials did not respond to calls seeking comment. Teneo, based in New York, employed Mr. Clinton as a consultant for about a year when it started, along with several other people from the Clinton circle. Mr. Clinton, who commands up to $700,000 per speech, did not chargeTeneo for his appearance at the New York event, according to financial disclosure statements released by his wife.
Ms. Abedin’s attorney, Miguel Rodriguez, declined to comment publicly for this article. But he has steadfastly insisted that Ms. Abedin did nothing wrong in working for Teneo, the State Department and theClinton Foundation at the same time, noting that government officials formally approved the arrangement.
Ethics questions
Ethics analysts see it differently. They say the State Department put Ms. Abedin in a position to collect money from an outside firm that had interests and political connections inside the department where she still worked, creating at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“The guidelines for becoming a special government employee make it quite clear it’s a unique position offered to someone as long as there is no conflict of interest,” said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for the Public Citizen ethics watchdog. “With Huma, she was in such a powerful position, conflicts were inevitable.
Huma never should have been provided special government employee status. She should’ve either remained a full-time employee at State or else become a full-time employee in the private sector,” he said. “To merge the two does raise a serious conflict of interest.”
Added Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight: “It would have been more appropriate to avoid any potential conflicts and not work inside the State Department and at the same time work for an entity that had matters before the agency. Even if this is legal or received a waiver, it certainly doesn’t mean that it should have been allowed.”
Internal State Department emails show the line dividing official government business, Teneo’s private business and the Clintons’ own financial interests at times became blurred as Ms. Abedin and other top State officials dealt with requests that had little to do with their government jobs.
The New York event, which Ms. Abedin helped support for Teneo, was held just nine days after the horrific terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
In fact, Mrs. Clinton was on Capitol Hill briefing lawmakers in private about the tragedy just a few short hours before her husband entertained the Teneo event at the Essex House overlooking South Central Park, her official schedule shows. Ms. Abedin joined Mr. Clinton at the event whileMrs. Clinton remained in Washington, according to interviews.
‘Urgent’ matter
The next morning, State Department officials were scrambling to address a potential crisis. But it was far from Libya and had nothing to do with federal business.
In their official government emails, top aides to Mrs. Clinton, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, were discussing a private fundraising charity that would allow the Clintons to raise money on an upcoming trip to Ireland that had deep connections to Teneo’s clients and one of the firm’s founders, Declan Kelly.
Doug Band, a founding partner at Teneo and a longtime confidant to Mr. Clinton, was also included on the State Department email chain, which clearly had nothing to do with official business.
“Stella O’Leary called to say she saw HRC this week and that HRC ‘firmly instructed’ her to urgently form a [501(c)(3) nonprofit organization] called Friends of the Clinton Centre,” said an email from Amitabh Desai, theClinton Foundation’s foreign policy director, dated Sept. 21, 2012.
The email was addressed to Ms. Mills, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Band and Ms. Abedin, among others. “I also asked if the new org could be flexible so that any funding raised could be used in whatever manner WJC [initials ofMr. Clinton] and HRC [Mrs. Clinton’s initials] wish in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and not restricted to support only the current iteration of the Clinton Centre in Enniskillen.”
Ms. O’Leary is an active Democratic donor who founded the Irish American Democrats to support Mr. Clinton’s re-election in 1996 and has since been a top Clinton donor.
Ms. Abedin weighed in on the idea of setting up the fund, suggesting that Mr. Sullivan had witnessed the conversation. “Jake was in the meeting so he can verify,” Ms. Abedin wrote the following day, adding the qualifier, “but HRC had said she made no commitments to her.”
Irish program
The tax-exempt fundraising arm was indeed established in 2013 and raised about $55,000 for an international summer school program to bring children from the Balkans and other conflict zones to Northern Ireland, Ms. O’Leary told CNN last month.
Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman, Nick Merrill, did not return an email message Tuesday seeking comment.
Eventually, Ms. Abedin would play a critical role in setting up the Ireland trip, a sort of farewell tour for Mrs. Clinton in a country where she and her husband were beloved. Teneo’s involvement in the trip was extensive.
The host, the World Ireland Fund, was connected to Teneo executives, and a Teneo representative was listed as a contact for the event honoringMrs. Clinton. During her speech at the event, Mrs. Clinton went out of her way to acknowledge Teneo co-founder Declan Kelly, who worked as a special envoy at the State Department before starting the firm.
“And I, too, will acknowledge and thank our former economic envoy, Declan Kelly, who has done so much to help bring more investors to the region, and I thank you for your contributions, Declan,” Mrs. Clintondeclared to applause from the crowd.
Behind the scenes, Ms. Abedin, on her official State Department email account, worked to set up a private dinner with Mrs. Clinton and topTeneo officials, bringing together figures from two of her employers.
“Hi everyone — I know we’ve all be exchanging emails about HRC’s trip to Dublin and Belfast next week so I’m sending you details for the visit and if you have any questions, please let me know,” Ms. Abedin wrote. “Hillaryis excited many of you are coming and hopes to see as much of you as possible.”
Later in the week, she followed up: “Hi everyone — wanted to follow up on plans for drinks/dinner on the 6th in Dublin. Thanks to John and Declan, we have a reservation at Restaurant 41 at the Residence Club. … See you Thursday!”
The “John” mentioned is hotel magnate John Fitzpatrick, founder of Fitzpatrick Hotel Group and longtime Clinton supporter.
‘De-loop me’
A month earlier, Ms. Abedin took an entirely different tack, asking to step aside from another matter that had arisen inside the State Departmentthat involved Teneo.
“You should de-loop me from these exchanges,” she wrote, using lowercase letters. “… Now that teneo is involved, I feel I have a conflict so best not to be a part of this. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Friends of Ms. Abedin, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, declined to speculate why she agreed to work on one matter involvingTeneo in Ireland and recused herself from another.
But they said the special government employee arrangement and temporary job at Teneo were designed more to help her transition to private life after an intense three years as a top deputy to Mrs. Clinton, followed by the birth of her first child and the embarrassment of her husband’s scandal.
Teneo had plenty of connections inside State already with heavy hitters like Doug Band and Declan Kelly, and they didn’t need Huma to make things happen there,” one friend said. “But Huma needed to sort out what she was going to do next with a new child, a new home in New York, a husband who lost his job in Congress and her longtime boss stepping down. And this arrangement helped.”
Ms. Abedin’s email workload seemed to reflect that transition. As deputy chief of staff, she averaged sending 2,193 emails a month through her official State account, but only 1,103 a month after she became a special government employee in 2012, according to an analysis conducted by Sate Department investigators.
Transition phase
Joe Birkenstock, a partner with Sandler Reiff Lamb in Washington, said special government employee status is given frequently to help government employees as they are leaving their jobs.
“Honestly, nothing about this status has made me stop and question it. This is why the SGE status exists, so that employees can continue on in this multiple-role capacity so they can finish up whatever it is on their way out,” Mr. Birkenstock said. “The concern is whether anybody in that position would use it to advance their own personal financial interest, and it doesn’t look like Huma was in a position to do that.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, sees it differently, saying Ms. Abedin’s varying roles blurred the lines between government business and private business.
“Multiple employers often mean competing or overlapping interests,” the senator told The Times. “Managing and preventing conflicts of interest are extremely important. In this case, the lack of transparency and the difficulty in determining when a government official is actually working for the government or a private entity make it difficult to determine whether conflicts of interest were avoided appropriately. That’s why the exemption for special government employees should be limited to cases where there is a truly exceptional government need for specialized knowledge or skills that can’t be found any other way. The goal behind asking these questions is to make sure government programs and laws, as well as government officials, are working as intended to serve the public, not other employers.”
Questions of propriety
The questions about blurred lines are taking on new significance as both the State Department inspector general and Mr. Grassley’s committee investigate whether Ms. Abedin’s special government employee contract was properly executed and accounted for and whether she engaged in any conflicts of interest.
David Bossie, a former congressional investigator and founder of the conservative group Citizens United, which sued to win access to Ms. Abedin’s emails, said the messages “pull back the curtain on how the Clintons do business.”
“The Clintons and their cronies know no shame and will do anything to enrich themselves or their friends and allies,” Mr. Bossie said. “Using thefoundation, using a private corporation and using the assets of the State Department all for the enrichment of their friends [are] all part of their normal business.”
In a letter addressed to the State Department about her consulting work,Ms. Abedin insisted she never intervened in State Department matters on behalf of Teneo clients and simply provided “strategic advice and consulting services to the firm’s management team” while helping “organize a major annual firm event.”
“I was not asked, nor did I undertake, any work on Teneo’s behalf before the Department,” Ms. Abedin wrote in the letter dated July 5, 2013, that Mr. Grassley released.
Investigators determined that Ms. Abedin charged more hours to her special government employee contract than was allowed by law, according to documents obtained by The Times. That alone, however, would not be enough to void the special protections against indirect conflicts of interest that the status afforded her, according to Office of Government Ethics rules. But a finding of a direct conflict of interest could lead to some form of action, officials said.
In New York, the Essex House event attracted a high-power guest list including Harvey Weinstein, Eli Broad, Blackstone co-founders Stephen Schwarzman and Peter Peterson, Silicon Valley impresario Sean Parker, Billie Jean King, George E. Pataki, and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, along with CEOs and top executives from companies such as Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, BP and Bank of America, according to a report by the New Republic.
The three former heads of state, Mr. ClintonMr. Bush and Mr. Blair, were slated to take the stage at 7 p.m. to give their speeches, but they were delayed backstage — by a long sales pitch made by a Teneo co-founder, the magazine reported.

“Instead of introducing his distinguished guests, he launched into a long-winded sales pitch,” the New Republic reports. “Teneo was the next big thing in executive consulting, he informed the audience. He played a promotional video about the firm. He introduced the heads of Teneo’s divisions, describing their resumes and asking each to stand in turn. Meanwhile, the onetime guardians of the [U.S.-British] special relationship were left loitering awkwardly in the wings. ‘It was unnecessarily inappropriate,’ said one guest. ‘It was flagrant.’ “