The acting State Department inspector general during Hillary Clinton’s tenure there was was a donor to Barack Obama, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets database.
Harold W. Geisel, a former ambassador, served as a temporary State Department IG during Clinton’s entire time as head of the State Department. According to Open Secrets, in 2008 Geisel contributed $2,300 to Barack Obama.
The donor data offers further insight into a question posed by Bloomberg News and others, specifically, when it comes to the Clinton email scandal — in which Clinton declined to use a government email account in favor of a private one, complete with its own separate server — just where was the State Department’s watchdog?
“For five years, including all of Clinton’s time as secretary, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General never had a confirmed inspector,” Arit John wrote for Bloomberg Tuesday. “Instead, it was lead by acting inspector Harold W. Geisel, a former ambassador who was accused of being too cozy to agency leadership by transparency groups like the Project on Government Oversight. Throughout the first half of President Obama’s first term, the absence of a State Department Inspector General while internal scandals and Benghazi rocked the department drew bipartisan criticism.”
Geisel acted as a temporary IG for Clinton’s entire time at Foggy Bottom, vacating the seat only in September of 2013 when Steve A. Linick took over as the permanent IG. Clinton left the State Department in February of that same year.
Former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod could not say recently why the Obama administration left the IG position open for so many years.
“I don’t know what happened in terms of the appointment of a permanent inspector general there. I do know that there was an interim inspector general who had been a career state department employee, had been in Republican and Democratic administration and they did run investigations,” Axelrod explained on MSNBC.
Bloomberg’s John notes that had a permanent inspector general been installed perhaps the watchdog might have caught on to Clinton’s email problem.
“One of the many unanswered questions of the Hillary Clinton e-mail story has been: Whose job was it to raise and address concerns about her exclusive use of a private account? According to open government advocates, it would have been the agency’s permanent, independent Inspector General—someone nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate—if such a person had existed,” John wrote.
The State Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.