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editorial

Top govt. aides shouldn’t also serve as outside consultants

In 2012, Huma Abedin served as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while also being a paid consultant to Teneo Holdings, an advisory firm that describes itself as “focused on working exclusively with the CEOs and leaders of the world’s largest companies, institutions, and governments.” The arrangement appears to have been legal, with Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide, earning $135,000 per year as a “special government employee.” But Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has questioned the wisdom of this arrangement and its potential for creating conflicts of interest if it were widely replicated throughout government. He’s entirely right to do so.

Abedin, of course, is the spouse of embattled former US representative and current New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Clinton is the presumed frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. So Grassley’s inquiry has been received as an attempt to conjure up a new Clinton scandal. But there’s no evidence that Grassley, the respected ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sees it that way. Rather, he’s focused appropriately on safeguarding the integrity of public service.

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