May 16, 2020

Menendez & Engel Launch Probe into Removal of State Department Inspector General

Lawmakers Request that White House & State Department Preserve and Produce Records Related to Friday’s Late-Night Firing

WashingtonSenator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today launched an investigation into President Trump’s firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. Writing to the White House, the Department of State, and the State Department Office of Inspector General, the lawmakers requested that administration officials preserve all records related to the firing and turn information over to the committees by Friday, May 22.

“President Trump’s unprecedented removal of Inspector General Linick is only his latest sacking of an inspector general, our government’s key independent watchdogs, from a federal agency. We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions,” wrote Engel and Menendez. “Reports indicate that Secretary Pompeo personally made the recommendation to fire Mr. Linick, and it is our understanding that he did so because the Inspector General had opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself. Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation.  This concern is amplified by the fact that it came only hours after the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which contains additional legal protections for inspectors general.”

Ranking Member Menendez and Chairman Engel requested that the administration turn over records and information related to the firing of Mr. Linick, information about Stephen J. Akard, whom the State Department has announced will lead the OIG, and records of all IG investigations involving the Office of the Secretary that were open, pending, or incomplete at the time of Mr. Linick’s firing.

The letter to the White House can be found here.

The letter to the Department of State can be found here.

The letter to the State Department Office of Inspector General can be found here.

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