I'm sure we've all been following the latest exploit of Carlos Danger (I know I have, though the injection of a baby into the sordidness makes it less frivolous reading), but Michael Barone points out something even more dismaying about Human Abedin, who has announced formal separation from her sexting husband, in a column with the blunt headline "Dismaying."
It concerns Ms. Abedin's unusual arrangement with the State Department, which allowed her to hold three jobs at one time (one of them with the Clinton Foundation):
[B]uried beneath the headlines and noted in passing is something voters might want to consider: the fact that during Clinton's years as secretary of state, Abedin was a "triple-dipper."
In June 2012, after Weiner resigned from Congress after the first revelations of his sexting, Abedin was granted "special government employee" status which allowed her to work and collect money from the Clinton Foundation and from the Teneo consulting firm founded by Bill Clinton's close aide Doug Band at the same time she was being paid as a top aide to Secretary of State Clinton.
This was an unusual arrangement. Government appointees are usually required to resign from their previous jobs, and contracts granting them deferred compensation need to be renegotiated. The reason is obvious: They shouldn't be serving two masters.
The reason for Abedin's triple-dipping seems obvious as well: She wanted more money. It's expensive to maintain homes in both New York and Washington, especially when your spouse is out of a job. (Although it's cheaper if you move from a Manhattan apartment to one in Weiner's Brooklyn/Queens district.)
But why did Clinton agree to (insist on?) this arrangement? Sen. Charles Grassley has been asking this question since 2013. He has noted that ordinarily "special government employees" are not allowed to hold this status for more than 130 days, but Abedin triple-dipped for up to 245 days.
Abedin was likely receiving six figures from the Clinton Foundation. Papers requested from the State Department are not expected to be found before November 8.
Barone suggests reasons for this novel arrangement that allowed Abedin to collect three salaries–and none of them are comforting:
Abedin, as the home-brew server email traffic has revealed, was clearly a conduit for the pay-to-play system in which Clinton Foundation donors received favorable treatment from the secretary of state. But perhaps creepy as well is a suggested overdependence by her boss.
One of the most important things a president does is select personnel for important jobs. Hillary Clinton has gone to unusual lengths, including the granting of special government employee status, to surround herself with utterly loyal sycophants like Abedin.
Barone is also critical of Donald Trump, who has chosen three campaign managers, whom Barone regards as "each of them in different ways a problematic choice." I beg to differ on the last manager, Kellyanne Conway, who is a smart pick.