Six senior Trump administration officials filed a whistleblower complaint with the State Department’s inspector general over allegations that Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), violated federal law and abused his authority, according to a copy of the complaint reported by Politico on Wednesday.
The 32-page complaint includes allegations from six members of the Senior Executive Services at the USAGM accusing Pack, who was confirmed as head of the agency which oversees the state-run network Voice of America in June, of engaging in conduct that “constitutes an abuse of authority and gross mismanagement.”
The six officials who filed the complaint were all placed on administrative leave Aug. 12.
The complaint alleges Pack, who was appointed by Trump, wanted to force out the complainants because they were part of the “Deep State” and had “played a role in the delay” of Pack’s confirmation to his position at the USAGM.
The complaint alleges Pack ordered a close aide to conduct research on the voting history of agency employees, including one of the complainants, Matthew Walsh, the deputy director for operations who was placed on administrative leave. The research “was to be utilized in evaluation of career civil servants’ abilities to carry out the duties of their positions,” the complaint states.
The complaint also alleges that Grant Turner, the chief financial officer placed on leave in August, started disclosing to the State inspector general concerns that Pack and Morvared Namdarkhan, the agency’s acting vice president for legal, were pressuring his office to withhold already appropriated funding from the agency’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act.
Turner also expressed concerns that Pack “crossed the firewall” established to protect the journalistic independence of the agency’s news networks from interference or influence by political officials. The complaint alleges an Urdu journalist working for the agency was removed based upon Pack’s “disagreement with the political viewpoint of a piece on former Vice President [Joe] Biden.”
The agency told Politico the allegations in the complaint are “completely false.”
“The allegations listed in the complaint are without merit and completely false. All actions taken by the U.S. Agency for Global Media are in accordance with the law,” the USAGM told the outlet in an email.
A spokesperson for the agency was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill.