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Opinion Trump's latest ethical violation: Firing the State Department's inspector general

01:08  23 may  2020
01:08  23 may  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

State Department watchdog ousted

  State Department watchdog ousted State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has been removed, according to a senior administration official and a congressional aide. Linick, a Justice Department veteran appointed to the role in 2013 by then President Barack Obama, is the latest of a slew of inspectors general to be ousted in recent months.

Trump continues to degrade ethical norms. I thought the U.S. reputation for strong anti-corruption laws couldn’t sink lower than it had that day, but little did I The latest attack on oversight is Trump ’ s letter to Congress notifying them that he intends to fire the State Department ’ s Inspector General Steve

President Donald Trump ' s latest removal of an inspector general continues to raise eyebrows in Washington, D.C. and beyond. The State Department inspector general fired by US President Donald Trump was investigating the use of an emergency declaration to push through arms sales

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Then-State Department Inspector General Steve Linick leaves Capitol Hill after a briefing with lawmakers on May 16, 2020. © Nicholas Kam/AFP via Getty Images Then-State Department Inspector General Steve Linick leaves Capitol Hill after a briefing with lawmakers on May 16, 2020.

In March 2017, I was speaking to a group of government officials from Latin America about government anti-corruption tools. I have conducted dozens of these sessions over the years for foreign officials and have always proudly touted the strength of the U.S. anti-corruption regime.

Mike Pompeo recommended Trump firing of State Department inspector general, White House says

  Mike Pompeo recommended Trump firing of State Department inspector general, White House says Democratic lawmakers launched an investigation into Linick's removal, claiming Pompeo wanted the inspector general removed because he was under investigation for wrongdoing.Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, notifying Congress of the decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump, who has targeted several government agency watchdogs in the past several weeks, told Congress he no longer had full confidence in Linick, but did not provide an explanation as to why.

The late -night, weekend firing of State Department IG Steve Linick is an acceleration of the President’ s dangerous pattern of retaliation against the President Trump on Monday said he fired the State Department inspector general at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but

The US state department ' s inspector general , Steve Linick, has become the latest senior official to be fired by US President Donald Trump . Mr Trump said Mr Linick no longer had his full confidence and that he would be removed in 30 days. Mr Linick had begun investigating Secretary of State Mike

This time, however, it was different. Donald Trump had just been elected president and had announced that he would not divest from his business interests. Indeed, several months prior to this training session, Trump had proudly claimed that "the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” I had just finished describing our federal ethics regime as “strong” when the entire group broke out in laughter. The officials laughing during this presentation were from a country with endemic, deep-rooted and well-known corruption issues. And yet here they were — laughing at the state of U.S. ethics laws.

Ron Johnson says White House explained firing of State Department inspector general

  Ron Johnson says White House explained firing of State Department inspector general Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said Sunday that he had been in touch with White House officials about the late-night firing of the State Department inspector general, and that the reasoning for Steve Linick's removal was explained to him. But Johnson declined to elaborate on the justification given for Linick's ouster during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union.""I spoke with senior officials both in the White House and the State Department. I understand the reasoning," Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, told Tapper.

Donald Trump fired State Dept Inspector General Steve Linick on May 15. Linick was reportedly investigating Sec. of State Mike Pompeo for using a political appointee to conduct personal errands, like dog walking, picking up dry cleaning, and making reservations at restaurants.

Trump ’ s firings of a string of inspectors general over the last several weeks, suggesting that in general at the State Department — the latest inspector general Mr. Trump has removed. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, has sharply criticized Mr. Trump ’ s firing of inspectors general

Trump continues to degrade ethical norms

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I thought the U.S. reputation for strong anti-corruption laws couldn’t sink lower than it had that day, but little did I know how much more the current administration would continue to degrade our anti-corruption institutions over the next three years.

The latest attack on oversight is Trump’s letter to Congress notifying them that he intends to fire the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick. This comes on the heels of Trump removing numerous other inspectors general who have attempted to do their jobs and provide oversight over the administration.

After nearly four years watching this administration diminish anti-corruption and oversight mechanisms, it is easy to become numb to the damage this is causing to the United States’ institutions and reputation. Lest anyone think this is merely a mundane personnel action, let me disabuse you of that notion. This is a big deal.

Fired State Department watchdog was looking into whether Pompeo made staffer walk his dog, pick up laundry

  Fired State Department watchdog was looking into whether Pompeo made staffer walk his dog, pick up laundry Congressional officials are trying to determine whether other investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were underway.The officials said they are working to learn whether former Inspector General Steve Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo.

President Trump has fired the State Department ’ s inspector general , an Obama administration appointee whose office was critical of alleged political bias in the agency’ s management. The ouster is the latest in a series of moves against independent executive branch watchdogs who have found fault

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his request to President Trump to fire the State Department inspector general was not in response to investigations Whether it’ s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, Times

Linick was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly misusing a government employee to perform personal tasks for himself and his wife, Susan Pompeo. And let’s be clear — this is not an overzealous IG gone rogue. There have been allegations of Pompeo and his wife misusing government staff and resources for personal reasons since he joined the administration. As a government official, Pompeo is not permitted to treat civil servants like TaskRabbit.

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Moreover, Linick was also purportedly looking into Pompeo’s decision to facilitate the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval. By investigating these allegations, Linick was doing exactly what his job requires him to do — root out fraud, waste and abuse within his agency. And when the target of his investigation learned what he was doing, he asked Trump to remove him. This is textbook retaliation and fundamentally undermines the independence and effectiveness of agency inspectors general.

Meet Sherman, the Dog at the Heart of the Mike Pompeo Scandal

  Meet Sherman, the Dog at the Heart of the Mike Pompeo Scandal Ousted State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was reportedly investigating accusations staffers carried out personal tasks for Mike Pompeo, including walking his dog.But now the 5-year-old retriever has gained attention for something other than cute Instagram posts, having been said to be an aspect of ousted State Department Inspector General Steve Linick's who Dems believe was carrying out an investigation into Pompeo.

Trump terminated Linick late Friday night and replaced him with Stephen J. Akard, a Pompeo’ s moves against inspector general leave a trail of questions. Trump initially said that he “I would say this, Trump has fired four inspectors general in three months,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol

Donald Trump announced the planned removal of Inspector General Steve Linick in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Friday Trump ' s adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday downplayed the firing of the State Department ' s top internal watchdog, saying the 'deep state ' has

Inspectors general are meant to provide oversight, not cover

The 1978 Inspector General Act created inspectors general to serve as independent watchdogs tasked with, among other things, uncovering corruption, misconduct, waste and abuse in the government. They have always received wide latitude in order to perform their jobs without fear of retaliation. The statute requires that at least 30 days before an IG’s removal or transfer, the president must notify Congress, in writing, of the reasons for this action.

Trump has made clear that he views legally-mandated oversight efforts as “scams,” “witch hunts” and “hoaxes.” So the chances of him voluntarily changing course in this matter are pretty close to nil. That leaves it to Congress to do something to stop this attempted removal of all accountability mechanisms. And it must be more than a tepid letter asking for a more detailed reasoning for removal of a Senate-confirmed IG. Although the democratic investigation into Linick's firing is a start, unless Congress is willing to take concrete action — like refusing to confirm nominees — Trump will continue to remove any inspectors general who try to hold his administration accountable.

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Fired watchdog was investigating Trump administration arms sales to Saudi Arabia

  Fired watchdog was investigating Trump administration arms sales to Saudi Arabia "It’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed," says Eliot Engel.The revelation adds another layer to Trump’s decision to sack Steve Linick, who was also looking into claims that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife improperly directed political appointees to run personal errands for him, including walking his dog and picking up his dry cleaning.

There is another element to consider in Linick’s firing: Every inappropriate removal of an IG, failure to follow government ethics laws, comingling of government and personal interests, attack on federal anti-corruption laws and defunding of global anti-corruption initiatives chips away at the U.S. government’s long-standing reputation for following the rule of law and leading the fight against global corruption.

The United States, like every other country in the world, has never been free of corruption. But our strong anti-corruption laws, active anti-corruption enforcement and global commitment to combating corruption have long served as a model for countries around the world. Sadly, these days, instead of serving as a beacon in the global fight against corruption, we are now just the butt of a joke.

Jessica Tillipman is an assistant dean and professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School where she teaches an anti-corruption & compliance course. She is also a senior editor of The FCPA Blog.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump's latest ethical violation: Firing the State Department's inspector general

Mike Pompeo offers another defense in his IG controversy — then immediately undercuts it .
Mike Pompeo said it couldn't possibly be retaliation because he didn't even know about the investigations. But then he admitted he knew about one of them.Pompeo’s defense basically boiled down to this: It couldn’t possibly have been retaliation, because I didn’t know what he was investigating.

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