State Department's New Watchdog Quits

Stephen Akard's departure follows predecessor's abrupt firing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2020 2:41 PM CDT
New State Department Watchdog Abruptly Resigns
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears during a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on the State Department's 2021 budget on Capitol Hill Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Washington.   (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

The State Department’s acting inspector general resigned abruptly on Wednesday following the firing of his predecessor in circumstances now being investigated by Congress. Stephen Akard announced his resignation just two days after Democrats issued subpoenas for several of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's top aides to answer questions about the shakeup in the watchdog's office, the AP reports. The department said Akard would return to the private sector but offered no other reason for his departure. Akard's deputy, Diana Shaw, will serve as the new acting inspector general once Akard leaves on Friday.

Although Akard had not been expected to become the permanent inspector general, his departure underscores the tumult and uncertainty in the office, which has been wracked by Republican charges of leaks and politically biased investigations. Democrats have alleged that Pompeo sought the ouster of Akard’s predecessor, Stephen Linick, because Linick was investigating allegations of impropriety by Pompeo. Inspectors general are independent watchdogs empowered by Congress to evaluate the performance of executive branch agencies and investigate allegations of wrongdoing by government officials. President Trump has taken exception to the work of several of the inspectors general and removed them despite congressional objections.

(More State Department stories.)

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