Posted: 12:31 am ET
Updated: Oct 27 | 12:44 am ET
Stuff New Zealand reported on October 26 that the US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown faced complaints over ‘cultural misunderstanding.’
US Ambassador Scott Brown has fronted over mounting “innuendo and rumour” about a State Department investigation into his behaviour. Speaking to Stuff with wife Gail Huff at his side, Brown confirmed there had been an official “administrative inquiry” into his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa in July.
It is not clear if the inquiry is conducted by HR, EEOC or OIG (we’ve asked but have not received a response) but whatever it is, talking to the local media, bound to be picked up by U.S. news media, is a calculated way to get ahead of the potential fallout from a probe that has not been publicly known until now.
We hope he’s learned his lesson that he’s not just some ex-politician from New Hampshire or Massachusetts anymore. He speaks for the United States at all times now until he steps down; and as with career folks who are considered on duty 24/7, the ambassador no longer has the luxury of personal views, only official ones. For Exhibit A, see @StateDept: Ambassador Friedman’s comment “does not represent a shift in U.S. policy”; for Exhibit B, see @StateDept on Amb. Friedman’s comment (again): “should not be read as a change in U.S. policy”.
Below is the official response from the State Department:
The State Department takes allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate them thoroughly. We hold all employees to the highest standard. The Office of Inspector General has conducted an independent review of the allegations and reported its findings to the Department. Senior leadership at the State Department has been in contact with Ambassador Brown and he has been counseled on standards of conduct for government employees, which also includes Ambassadors.
So hey, while we’re on the subject of “insensitive” or “inappropriate” comments, say…we’ve posted about this and more related to Diplomatic Security. Has anyone sent in investigators over there to see about Special Agent Sticky Balls and what he’s up these days?
— Felicia Schwartz (@felschwartz) October 25, 2017
— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) October 25, 2017
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) October 25, 2017
Brown told party in the Samoan capital they looked “beautiful” and could make hundreds of dollars working in US. https://t.co/eaQKjs6rQm
— Francine McKenna (@retheauditors) October 25, 2017