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Grassley responds to IG investigation of State Dept. use of Special Government Employee Program

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032From Press Release

 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today welcomed confirmation from the State Department Office of Inspector General that the inspector general will review the department’s use of the Special Government Employee program.

“This program is meant to be used in a limited way to give the government special expertise it can’t get otherwise,” Grassley said.  “Is the program working the way it’s intended at the State Department or has it been turned on its head and used in ways completely unrelated to its purpose?   An independent analysis will help to answer the question.  An inspector general review is necessary. Available information suggests that in at least one case, the State Department gave the special status for employee convenience, not public benefit.”

In response to Grassley’s request, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick confirmed his office “intends to examine the Department’s SGE program to determine if it conforms to applicable legal and policy requirements, including whether or not the program, as implemented, includes safeguards against conflicts of interest.”

Grassley is concerned about potential conflicts of interest arising from a top State Department employee, Huma Abedin, who worked for both the government as a Special Government Employee and an outside firm, Teneo, at the same time.  His concerns date from 2013, when he wrote to the State Department and 15 other agencies about their use of the Special Government Employee program.  The State Department never fulfilled his request for all communications between the State Department and Teneo.  He reiterated that request last month in light of revelations of private email use by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and reportedly Abedin.

Linick’s response to Grassley is available here.  Grassley’s request to Linick is available here.  Grassley’s request to the State Department, not yet answered, is available here.