New Faces, Old Faces — State Dept’s Office of Inspector General Gets a Make-Over

— By Domani Spero

We were writing our welcome back blog post for State/OIG last week when we noticed that there were new faces and reshuffled desks at the Office of the Inspector General at the State Department.

You may be aware by now that the new IG Steve Linick took office on September 30 but he wasn’t the only one who started fresh at the State Department.  He came to the State  Department with  Emilia Di Santo, his Chief of Staff/Acting Deputy Inspector General for Policy from the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Inspector General’s Office (FHFA-OIG),and David Z. Seide, his Director of Special Projects at the FHFA-OIG.

Emilia Di Santo, Acting Deputy Inspector General

Ms. Di Santo who was appointed Acting Deputy IG on October 1, succeeded Harold Geisel, the Deputy IG who served as OIG boss for the last five years while the State Department did not have a Senate-confirmed Inspector General.

Ms. Di Santo was with the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Inspector General’s Office for two years prior to this month’s move to the State Department. Previous to that, she was the Chief Investigative Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and was a longtime senior investigator for GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.  During her time with committee, particularly from 2004 onwards, the Wall Street Journal called the Finance Committee “a chamber of misery for the pharmaceutical industry and medical device makers, using its mandate to stop Medicare fraud as the grounds for many investigations.”  Ms. Di Santo also made news in 2005, when  she was repeatedly attack by someone with an unidentified object believed to be a baseball bat while unloading her belongings at her home in Virginia. The Hill reported at that time that nine staples were needed to close her head wound and that the FBI and Capitol Police investigated the vicious attack amid concerns that the assault was related to her work on the Finance Committee.  We could not locate a follow-up report on that incident.  She did not give interviews, and simply returned to work. Ms. Di Santo had been expected to follow Senator Grassley to the Judiciary Committee but in 2011 she moved instead to the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Inspector General’s Office.

David Z. Seide, Counselor to the Inspector General

Mr. Seide was appointed Counselor to the Inspector General on October 18, 2013.  Previously, he served for almost three years as Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Federal Housing Finance Agency. According to his LinkedIn profile, while in that capacity, he made significant contributions to the work of the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group. Mr. Seide also spent nearly 12 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for the investigation, prosecution and trial of multiple individuals and organizations suspected of engaging in securities and business fraud.

A side note here, Mr. Linick’s former office at Federal Housing Finance Agency worked with the RMBS Working Group and the New York Attorney General’s Office in support of the investigation and prosecution of RMBS fraud cases. On Friday, the WSJ  reported that JP Morgan has reached a tentative agreement of roughly $4 billion to settle Federal Housing Finance Agency claims the bank misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of mortgages it sold to them during the housing boom. Over the weekend, the NYT also reported about a larger tentative settlement over JP Morgan Chase mortgage practices and a potential record of $13 billion in penalty.

Another interesting note  we should add here.  Mr. Linick was FHFA’s first Inspector General. When he came to office in 2010, FHFA accused him of exceeding authority and went so far as to restrict the OIG access to agency documents, shared drive, and instructed employees that they should not communicate with FHF A-OIG without first apprising FHFA management. This guy did not fold.  (See Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) records provided to Senator Charles E. Grassley and Senator Tom Coburn concerning the independence of Inspectors General necessary to promote efficiency and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in agency programs, in response to the Senators’inquiry, 2011-2012, FOIA Request via

Two more new appointments:

Karen Ouzts, Assistant Inspector General for Administration

On September 4, 2013, Karen Ouzts was appointed as the new Assistant Inspector General for Administration.  She was previously the deputy at State/OIG’s Office of General Counsel. Ms. Ouzts succeeded David M. Yeutter who was appointed as OIG’s Executive Officer on October 2009. Mr. Yeutter is a Foreign Service specialist who presumably will return to a regular assignment in the Foreign Service.

Norman P. Brown, Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audits

On September 13, Norman P. Brown was appointed the Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audit. He was previously the deputy for the Audit directorate prior to this appointment.  He succeeded Evelyn R. Klemstine who was appointed Assistant Inspector General for Audits in November 2009. State Magazine’s October 2013 issue listed  Ms. Klemstine as newly retired from the Civil Service.

The following officials remain at posts:

State/OIG has 318 employees, more than double FHFA-OIG staff.  About 93% of State/OIG staff are civil servants.  Interesting times, over there.


After 1,989 Day-Vacancy — President Obama Nominates Steve Linick as State Dept Inspector General

— By Domani Spero

President Obama nominated Steve A. Linick as State Department Inspector General today filling a 1,989-day vacancy. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the nomination today of a full-time Inspector General at the U.S. State Department is long overdue.

“A full time, independent watchdog at the State Department is essential to protect the interest of taxpayers. While this nomination is long overdue, I appreciate the president responding to the concerns that I’ve expressed to him and Secretary Kerry regarding this vacancy, and I look forward to getting to know the nominee as our committee considers his fitness for this important position,” said Corker.


Steve A. Linick is currently the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Below is his official bio posted on the FHFA website:

Steve A. Linick has led the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) since his U.S. Senate confirmation in 2010. As Inspector General, Mr. Linick is the senior official responsible for audits, evaluations, investigations, and other law enforcement efforts to combat fraud, waste, and abuse within or affecting the programs and operations of FHFA. FHFA-OIG’s oversight includes FHFA’s regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. Mr. Linick heads an independent organization of more than 100 professionals who are dedicated to promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in all FHFA programs.

Mr. Linick has also spearheaded an initiative among Federal inspectors general who play significant roles in supporting U.S. housing. In November 2011, this initiative resulted in the Compendium of Federal Single Family Mortgage Programs and Related Activities, which is a guide to Federal agencies’ major housing efforts. In addition, Mr. Linick is a member of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Taskforce; the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), Investigations Committee, where he serves as the Vice-Chair of the committee’s Suspension and Debarment Working Group; and a permanent member of the Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight.

Mr. Linick is trained as a lawyer, and prior to his appointment as Inspector General, he served in several leadership positions in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). From 2006 to 2010, he served in dual roles as Executive Director of DOJ’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and Deputy Chief of its Fraud Section, Criminal Division. As Deputy Chief, Mr. Linick managed and supervised the investigation and prosecution of white-collar criminal cases involving procurement fraud, public corruption, investment fraud, telemarketing fraud, mortgage fraud, corporate fraud, and money laundering, among other cases. In addition, he was the front-line official at DOJ for contract fraud cases relating to the U.S. wars and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In October 2008, Mr. Linick received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for leading DOJ’s procurement fraud initiative. Previously, Mr. Linick was an Assistant United States Attorney, first in the Central District of California (1994-1999) and subsequently in the Eastern District of Virginia (1999-2006).

Mr. Linick received his BA (1985) and MA (1990) in Philosophy from Georgetown University and his JD (1990) from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Did the senator from Texas just got lucky or had excellent timing? (See Still No Junkyard Dog? Senator Cruz Warns He’ll Place a Hold on All State Dept Nominations).

We are pleased to see that the nominee is an outsider but is not totally a stranger to the role of the Inspector General.