Sen. Grassley Asks Why Probe Into Clinton Aide Not Disclosed

Image: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Huma Abedin
Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, attends the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Mark Lennihan / AP

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By Frank Thorp V and Andrew Rafferty

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to attorneys for Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin asking why they never disclosed that the State Department Inspector General had opened a "criminal investigation" in 2013 into Abedin's compensation.

Abedin’s attorneys have previously said that no criminal investigation into Abedin has ever taken place. But a 2013 letter from the State Department inspector general to the FBI reveals the IG had opened “a criminal investigation” over allegation of “theft,” referring to possible overpayments Abedin received while working as Clinton's deputy chief of staff when she served as secretary of state.

“How can you reconcile your statement with the record?” Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote.

The notice, first reported by Politico, never led a to Justice Department investigation. Clinton allies argue to that the Justice Department's public integrity unit’s decision not to pursue the allegations exonerates Abedin.

At issue is how much Abedin, now vice chair of Clinton’s 2016 campaign, was paid during vacation and maternity leave. The inquiry is now being taken up as an administrative claim that Abedin was over compensated by about $10,000.

“After the birth of her son, she took maternity leave. The IG had questions about the details of her leave, Huma answered," Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement. "There is a review ongoing. Anything beyond that is the product of partisan leaks with a clear agenda.”

Last month, a lawyer for Abedin said his client has been “unfairly tarnished” by Grassley’s “unsubstantiated allegations that appear to flow from misinformation.”

- msnbc's Alex Seitz-Wald contributed to this report