Huma Has Lost Her Halo

Elspeth Reeve
Huma Has Lost Her Halo

When Michele Bachmann picked on Huma Abedin a year ago — claiming she had some convoluted connection to the Muslim Brotherhood — there was a rush to defend the longtime Hillary Clinton aide. The Minnesota congresswoman quickly got a scolding from House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. John McCain, House Intelligence Committee chair Mile Rogers. But now that her husband, Anthony Weiner, is running for New York City mayor, the attacks on Abedin aren't so ridiculous, and Abedin herself is not quite so untouchable. Sen. Chuck Grassley is continuing his investigation into Abedin's unusual arrangement from June 2012 to February 2013 to work part-time as a consultant to the State Department while working as a consultant to Teneo Holdings, a New York-based strategic advisory group, the New York Daily News' Dan Friedman reports.

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Grassley claims Abedin is stonewalling his investigation into whether she used her government connections to give information to Teneo clients. Abedin didn't respond to Grassley's June letter until July 5, when the Daily News reported her silence. "I certainly never 'gathered information from government sources for the purpose of informing investment decisions of Teneo's clients,' as the Senate letter suggests," Abedin wrote. Grassley responds that "The State Department and Ms. Abedin haven't provided a single document that I requested." He says he'll keep pursuing his probe.

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And while there has been much praise of Abedin's handling of her first press conference this week, after it was reported that Weiner sent crotch pictures to other women more than a year after he resigned from Congress, she doesn't quite have the halo she once did. Slate's Dave Weigel points out that six years of news coverage of Abedin has remarkably focused on rave reviews of her physical appearance. ("Her appearance is just like, ‘Hoh my God!’ She takes your breath away," James Carville said. "[T]he women in our office definitely watch what Huma wears," Philippe Reines, who later worked as Clinton's spokesman, said.) The two main non-fashion things she's known for — standing by her husband and cashing in on Washington connections — are pretty "ordinary," Weigel says.

RELATED: Huma Abedin Will Not Have Trouble Finding Her Next Job

It's in the latter category that Abedin still shines. As The Washington Post reported on Thursday, friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton generally felt that "if you wanted to stay in Hillary’s good graces, you answer the call from Huma." So they donated to Weiner's mayoral campaign. And they still are! At least, as long as Abedin sticks by him, the New York Post reports:

“If you look at the contributors to Anthony around the country, they weren’t giving for Anthony — they were giving for Huma,” the source said.

“For many people, Huma is the gateway to Hillary. She’s one of the closest aides; she’s an adopted daughter. You think [power agent] Bob Barnett would give to Anthony? [Billionaire] Haim Saban wouldn’t give Anthony a second chance.”

But Clinton's biggest donors haven't bothered with Weiner, the Post says. That's because they ties to Hillary are already close enough.

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