Posted: 4:32 am ET
On March 15, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter to the White House and State Department releasing new documents obtained by a whistleblower showing high level political appointees targeting career civil servant employees they believed did not adequately support President Donald Trump’s agenda.
We have obtained extremely disturbing new documents from a whistleblower indicating that high-level ofﬁcials at the White House and State Department worked with a network of conservative activists to conduct a “cleaning” of employees they believed were not sufficiently “supportive” of President Trump’s agenda. They appear to have targeted these staffers despite being fully aware that they were career civil service employees and despite the career employees expressing willingness to support the policy priorities of the Trump Administration.
Over the past year, we have heard many reports of political attacks on career employees at the State Department, but we had not seen evidence of how extensive, blunt, and inappropriate these attacks were until now. In light of this new information, we now request that you produce additional documents regarding these staffing decisions and make several ofﬁcials available for transcribed interviews with Committee staff.
The congressional representatives say that the documents they have show that political appointees characterized career State Department employees in derogatory terms, including as “a leaker and troublemaker”; “Turncoat , associated with previous policy”; and “Obama/Clinton loyalists not at all supportive of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.”
The congressional letter requests the following documents and information including transcribed interviews by March 29, 2018:
(1) all documents and communications referring or relating to any reassignment or proposed reassignment that was considered or ordered since January 20, 2017, of career or civil service employees at the Department;
(2) all documents and communications referring or relating to any proposed or actual reassignment or removal of career or civil service employees at the Department since January 20, 2017, based on alleged personal political beliefs, prior service with previous Administrations, or work on prior Administrations’ foreign policy priorities, including any documents authored by, copying, involving, or referring to:
(a) Christine Ciccone;
(b) Makan Delrahim;
(c) Sean Doocey;
(d) Julia Haller;
(e) Brian Hook;
(f) Edward Lacey;
(g) Matthew Mowers; or
(h) Margaret Peterlin; and
(3) all documents and communications referring or relating to proposed or actual personnel actions since January 20, 2017, against Sahar Nowrouzzadch, including the curtailment of her detail to the Policy Planning staff.
Although career staffers generally observe an ethos of nonpartisanship, many Trump officials saw “Obama holdovers” as constituting a “deep state” cabal determined to sabotage the new president’s agenda. https://t.co/CqQmoLrZ7L via @nahaltoosi pic.twitter.com/Kf3rY5kbbt
— POLITICO (@politico) March 17, 2018
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) March 15, 2018
Two State Department officials involved in the Trump administration's civil servant "disloyalty" purge have direct access to the "dissent channel" where staffers openly protest the administration's decisions, TPM discovers https://t.co/gROIEHYP8N pic.twitter.com/m41q9pINGR
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 19, 2018
It's illegal to target civil service employees based on their perceived loyalty to a particular president. The point of the civil service is to insulate career feds from being demoted or punished for something like being "associated with previous policy." https://t.co/etF8Mmm07M
— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) March 15, 2018