John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, says there are “serious questions” about the integrity of the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The OIG is locked in an increasingly contentious fight with Clinton’s campaign on a host of issues, including her use of a private email account during her time as secretary of State.
It has also reportedly subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation for documents related to charity projects and is investigating close Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s work as a “special government consultant” while she worked at State.
A source within the OIG contacted The Hill claiming that the office has grown increasingly partisan, accusing it of having an “anti-Clinton” bias.
Told by The Hill about the remarks, Podesta described the source as a “whistleblower” whose comments called into question the integrity of the OIG investigations.
“This person’s account is highly troubling, and is cause to ask serious questions about the independence of this office,” Podesta said of the source. The Clinton campaign says it does not know the identity of the source.
An OIG official strongly disputed the source’s account.
“Partisan politics play no role in OIG’s work,” the spokesman said Monday.
The source charges that State Inspector General Steve Linick is “excessively deferential” to Emilia DiSanto, the OIG deputy director and a former aide to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Grassley is at the center of several investigations about Clinton, including whether Abedin was overpaid by the government while working for the State Department. He’s been aided in his probe by what he says is a “confidential source” at the OIG — Democrats charge this is DiSanto.
“Our work is becoming overtly anti-State Department, pro-Republican, and anti-Clinton,” the OIG source said, charging that DiSanto is working with an “active partisan mandate to undermine both the State Department as a federal agency and Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate.”
The source also charged that Linick is “more or less under her control, possibly out of a desire for a more prestigious appointed position.”
Grassley’s staff and the OIG have strongly pushed back at those assertions.
The OIG spokesman noted that Linick, a two-time appointee of President Obama, was asked by Secretary of State John Kerry last year to investigate how the department handles records management, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and the archiving of emails. The request was made on the heels of questions about Clinton’s use of a private email server.
So far, the OIG has issued a report on its handling of FOIA requests. The State Department has accepted all of the OIG’s recommendations.
SOURCE: Amie Parnes