Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Firm's filing updated day after news broke Hillary Clinton aide did outside consulting work

Last week, CNN reported that a "company tied to" Huma Abedin - Hillary Clinton's longtime aide - was "registered with the New York Department of State" on May 23, 2012.

"Zain Endeavors was registered 11 days before Abedin left her post as Clinton's deputy chief of staff to work instead as a consultant for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm with deep ties to the Clintons," investigative correspondent Chris Frates reported for CNN on August 19, 2005.

In addition - unnoticed or unreported by CNN - the Zain Endeavors LLC registration "file was last updated on May 17, 2013", which was the day after Maggie Haberman, John Brensnahan and Glenn Thrush broke the story for Politico that the State Department and Hillary Clinton had kept the job change secret for nearly a year.

"Huma Abedin — Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and the wife of all-but-declared New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner — spent her final months at the State Department working as a part-time consultant with the agency who at the same time was allowed to represent outside clients, POLITICO has confirmed," the article announced to the world. It was published after 4 PM EST on Thursday, May 16, 2013, which meant that anyone wanting to change the filing would have had to wait until the next day to realistically accomplish that.

"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.
It's unknown what was changed in the filing, but it's possible that the address was changed from the Weiners' Manhattan condo to the registered agent's, in order to make it more difficult to tie it to Abedin, which could further distract from her husband's mayoral campaign.

Also, on May 16, Abedin and Weiner shot the first campaign ad for his unsuccessful mayoral campaign.

On April 23, 2013, Weiner revealed to Michael Barbaro at the New York Times that he "embark[ed] on a new career after he left Congress on June 16, 2011", and "[o]n July 7, he quietly incorporated a new firm, Woolf Weiner Associates, named for his great-grandfather, an Austrian immigrant to the Lower East Side." However, Weiner didn't say anything about his wife possibly having her own consulting firm, as well.

Some of Weiner's consulting gigs were to firms tied to the Clintons, as the Times noted. In May of 2013, I exclusively linked one of former New York Democratic Congressman Weiner's private consulting clients to former President Bill Clinton.

"There is nothing illegal about a private citizen creating a company, nor is it unprecedented for someone who is self-employed to form an LLC to provide them with legal protections and tax benefits," Frates reported for CNN. "But the timing is noteworthy because some conservative lawmakers and outside groups have questioned whether Abedin's consulting work for the State Department and private organizations created a conflict of interest."


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