State Department says acting IG left to return to private sector

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. State Department's Acting Inspector General Stephen J. Akard has left his post and is returning to the private sector, a spokesperson for the agency said on Wednesday, less than three months after his predecessor was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump.

"Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, the State Department’s Acting Inspector General and the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, has announced he is returning to the private sector after years of public service," a spokesperson for the State Department said, adding that his deputy Diana Shaw will become the new acting inspector general for the department.

Akard's departure comes after his predecessor, Steve Linick, who had joined the State Department in 2013, was ousted on May 15, the latest in a series of government watchdogs dismissed by Trump.

Congressional Democrats have launched an investigation into Trump's firing of Linick, which he said he had done at the behest of U.S. Secretary of Mike Pompeo.

Democratic lawmakers have said Trump might have fired Linick because he was investigating U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia.

Congressional aides have also said Linick was probing whether Pompeo had misused a taxpayer-funded political appointee to perform personal tasks for himself and his wife, such as walking their dog. Pompeo dismissed the accusations as 'crazy stuff'.

On Monday, as part of their investigation into the firing of Linick, senior U.S. congressional committee Democrats announced subpoenas for depositions from four aides to Pompeo.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

08/05/2020 16:19

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