Cummings Issues Statement on IG Report Finding Politicized Retaliation in the State Department

Aug 16, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (August 16, 2019)—Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued a statement in response to a report by the State Department Office of Inspector General finding violations of personnel policies and political retribution against State Department employees.

Chairman Cummings issued the following statement:

“For years, career State Department employees have come forward as whistleblowers to our Committee alleging politically motivated retaliation and mistreatment by the Trump Administration.  This long-awaited State Department Inspector General report confirms that the State Department sidelined senior civil servants because of perceived disloyalty to President Trump, including blocking at least one candidate for a senior position based on the fact that the official had worked on the prior Administration’s policies to support gay and lesbian rights.  This report leaves no doubt that Trump Administration political appointees have mismanaged the Department and violated the public trust, and the American people deserve swift action to hold those officials accountable and to root out this systemic problem from throughout the State Department and the rest of the Administration.”

Below are highlights from the Inspector General’s new report:

  • The OIG found significant evidence of systemic deficiencies in leadership and management relating to the treatment of career employees in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO).
  • The OIG found evidence that personnel actions were undertaken by IO leadership as retribution for employees’ perceived disloyalty to the Trump Administration’s political preferences or to satisfy leadership’s own personal gripes and thus violated Department policy.
  • Numerous employees told the OIG that Assistant Secretary Kevin Moley and Ms. Mari Stull, a political appointee in the position of Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, made inappropriate accusations of disloyalty and made positive or negative comments about employees based on perceived political views. For example, several career employees reported that throughout her tenure at the Department, Ms. Stull referred to them or to other career employees as “Obama holdovers,” “traitors,” or “disloyal.”
  • Employees described a negative and “vindictive” environment in IO cultivated by Assistant Secretary Moley and Ms. Stull.
  • Several current and former IO employees reported that Assistant Secretary Moley and Ms. Stull frequently berated employees, raised their voices, and generally engaged in unprofessional behavior toward staff.
  • These failures of leadership have led to serious morale problems in IO and to the departure of a significant number of career staff.

Click here to read the Office of Inspector General report.

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116th Congress