New company established 11 days before Huma Abedin left State Department

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) receives a note from her aide Huma Abedin (L) as she testifies about the State Department's FY2012 budget during a hearing.

Story highlights

  • Huma Abedin is a staffer and close confidante of Hillary Clinton
  • A company with ties to Abedin was formed shortly before she left Clinton's staff to do contracting work

Washington (CNN)A company tied to Huma Abedin was formed in the final days of her work at Hillary Clinton's side at the State Department.

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.
A CNN review of public records shows that Zain Endeavors shares Abedin's home address. And it also shares a name with Abedin's son, Jordan Zain Weiner, suggesting the company could have been registered for her. Zain Endeavors LLC is registered with the New York Department of State.
    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. 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.
    Abedin is now a top official with Clinton's presidential campaign. Her lawyers, State Department and Clinton campaign officials did not respond to questions about the company.
    News of the existence of Zain Endeavors, which has not been previously reported, comes as Republicans scrutinize the longtime Clinton confidante's working arrangement, including the State Department inspector general's findings that Abedin was overpaid by almost $10,000 when she left the department as a full-time employee. She is disputing the findings.
    On Thursday, a federal judge is set to hear concerns from a conservative group that sued the State Department seeking Abedin's employment information. Judicial Watch has complained that the State Department has failed to provide basic information.
    And Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has raised questions about Abedin's move from a full-time State Department employee to a so-called special government employee, which is essentially a consultant.
    In a July 30 letter to Abedin, Grassley raised concerns about "the circumstances of your work arrangement, time and attendance while employed by the Department, potential conflicts of interest raised by your outside employment, and conversion from a full-time Department of State employee to a Special Government Employee and Senior Advisor to former Secretary Clinton."
    In answering a 2013 letter from Grassley, Huma detailed the consulting work she did outside the State Department. She wrote that she worked with Clinton "in her personal capacity to help prepare for her transition from public service."
    For the Clinton Foundation, Abedin wrote that she assessed "the Foundation's ongoing programs and structure in planning for the Secretary's post-State philanthropic activities."
    And at Teneo, she "provided strategic advice and consulting services to the firm's management team." And she wrote that she did not represent the firm before the State Department, noting that it was her understanding that Teneo didn't do business with the department.
    "I also was not asked, nor did I provide, insights about the Department, my work with the Secretary, or any government information to which I may have had access," she wrote. "And, 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's use of an LLC is not unprecedented in Clinton's inner circle. Former President Bill Clinton has used WJC, LLC to provide consulting services. And because the company has no financial assets -- but rather was designed to channel payments to Bill Clinton -- Hillary Clinton was not required to disclose it on her recent financial disclosure report, The Associated Press reported.