WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Ambassador Stephen Akard resigned from his position as Acting Inspector General of the State Department:

“Independent, experienced Inspectors General are paramount to effective oversight. From day one, the appointment of Ambassador Akard as Acting Inspector General raised critical questions about how he could conduct oversight while remaining a State Department employee who reports to the Secretary. I do not believe he was the right choice to lead the office, but I am concerned that his sudden resignation leaves another opportunity for the Trump Administration to try to weaken oversight and accountability." 

“The ongoing bicameral investigation into the abrupt and unexplained dismissal of IG Linick will continue full speed ahead. Secretary Pompeo’s changing and after-the-fact justifications have led to more questions than answers. It is essential that we understand why Secretary Pompeo wanted Linick removed, and if there was any retaliatory or improper motive.

“As a leadership crisis at the State Department continues to shake the agency to its core, it is imperative that the next IG, or the Deputy IG, ensures that the work of the office continues apace. I will be closely scrutinizing the replacement choice and the work of the IG’s office. Secretary Pompeo must understand this is not an opportunity to embed a loyal political ally to represent his interests in the Inspector General’s office; it is about ensuring that there is a qualified, experienced individual who will serve as an independent watchdog to hold the Department and the Secretary accountable for any misconduct.”