Amid alleged misconduct and quashed investigations at the State Department, President Barack Obama nominated Steve A. Linick to be Inspector General for the agency. This is the first time since Obama took office in 2009 that he appointed an IG to that position.
“A full time, independent watchdog at the State Department is essential to protect the interest of taxpayers,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), ranking member of the foreign relations committee. “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.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently threatened to place a hold on all of the president’s State Department nominees if Obama did not appoint an IG to be vetted and confirmed by the Senate. Concerns over the administration’s lack of independent oversight at various agencies have led to suspicions of out of control spending, abuse, and intimidation of potential whistleblowers on the federal level.
Other cabinet level agencies without a confirmed IG are: the Department of the Interior, USAID, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Sens. Corker and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) wrote a letter to the president earlier this month urging him to fill these other vacancies.
Senator Cruz responded to the nomination in a statement released early Friday evening:
Three days ago, I wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell notifying my intent to hold all diplomatic nominations until a State Department Inspector General is nominated by the President. This crucial oversight position has been vacant for nearly five years, during which time there have been deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, mismanagement of security contractors at our embassy in Afghanistan, and hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars wasted for police training in Iraq.
Yesterday, the White House finally nominated Mr. Steve Linick to fill this role at the State Department. That the President has finally announced a nomination – after allowing this vital post to remain unfilled for nearly 2000 days – is welcome news to all who value good governance and accountability within our federal agencies. Regardless of what brought about the announcement, it is a concrete step in the right direction and I look forward to discussing my concerns about the State Department with Mr. Linick in the near future.