Posted: 12: 34 am EDT
In January, we posted about a Clinton ally going after a senior advisor of the Inspector General of the State Department (see It Took Awhile But Here It Is — Going After @StateDept OIG Steve Linick With Fake Sleeper Cells).
Politico recently reported this:
The State Department’s internal watchdog office subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last fall for records about projects the foundation was involved in during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state as well as records related to longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a foundation representative confirmed Thursday.
A spokesman for Inspector General Steve Linick declined to comment on the subpoena or the scope of the office’s inquiry. Lawyers for Abedin did not respond to messages seeking comment on the development.
However, a spokesman for Clinton’s presidential campaign suggested the inquiry was unfounded and unnecessary.
“It’s very hard, to be honest with you, for me personally to keep track of all the fishing expeditions that this IG office has conducted,” spokesman Brian Fallon said on CNN.
“This is the same office that launched an investigation into one of Secretary Clinton’s top aides over maternity leave and when the Justice Department refused to go along with that fishing expedition they had to give it up and, now, ever since, they’ve had to look for other things,” Fallon told CNN . “That was ridiculous and the Justice Department laughed at it when the IG made a referral over there and rightfully so.”
Brian Fallon previously worked as spokesman for Eric Holder at the Justice Department and has been the press secretary for the Clinton Campaign since April 2015.
Isn’t it weird that the campaign spox knew that the Justice Department “laughed at it?”
Whenever there is a leak of a State/OIG work product, some folks assume that the leak can only come out of Foggy Bottom. Because obviously, accusing the folks in Congress of leaking an official report is really nutty, hey? That never happens, right?
Let’s dispel with this fiction that State/OIG Steve Linick appointed by President Obama is out to get the democratic frontrunner and that these investigations are “fishing expeditions.”
The Inspector General Act of 1978 imposes a dual reporting requirement on inspectors general to both their agency heads and to the Congress.
(5) to keep the head of such establishment and the Congress fully and currently informed, by means of the reports required by section 5 and otherwise, concerning fraud and other serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations administered or financed by such establishment, to recommend corrective action concerning such problems, abuses, and deficiencies, and to report on the progress made in implementing such corrective action.
The OIG’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress no longer includes a summary of congressional requests made to the inspector general but we know from media reports that Senator Chuck Grassley of the Judiciary Committee wrote to the State Department on June 13, 2013 and August 15, 2013 regarding the Department’s use of Special Government Employee (SGE) designations. In March 2015, Senator Grassley asked (PDF) State/OIG to look into SGEs and related issues to Huma Abedin. IG Linick’s response is here (PDF).
On March 25, 2015, Secretary Kerry requested (PDF) IG Linick for an expedited review of the State Department work “to preserve a full and complete record of American foreign policy, consistent with federal laws and regulations.” Note that the Kerry request is available through archives.gov and not through state.gov.
Presumably, these are not the only requests but even if the Secretary of State or members of Congress were not asking for investigations, there are issues related to the Clinton tenure that no inspector general worth his/her salt can simply afford to ignore.
Imagine all the uproar going on related to State Department emails, email server, SGEs, FOIA, classifications, big donors, family foundation, potential conflicts of interest and blah, blah, blah.
Now, imagine an inspector general ignoring all that and focusing his attention elsewhere safe like oh, auditing expenditures for FSI’s furniture.
Is that the inspector general we need?
In this election season, any investigation related to the former secretary of state is a political landmine. The easy way would have been to hide under a rock and not come out until well, November 10, 2016. The fact that the Office of the Inspector General at the State Department is working as it should even when there are political IEDs everywhere is a sign of courage under fire. And it’s only going to get rougher from hereon. Hat’s off to you, folks, for doing what you’ve publicly sworn to do — to faithfully discharge the duties of the office you’ve entered.