Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had the former inspector general sacked in May, calling him a “bad actor” amid polls about Pompeo and other department heads.
Stephen Akard, a longtime assistant to Vice President Mike Pence, became interim IG in May after Steve Linick, a career civil servant, was fired.
Akard “announced that he was returning to the private sector after years of public service. We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country, ”a State Department spokesperson told ABC News on Wednesday.
Appointed by Trump, Akard was director of the Office of Foreign Missions. After becoming an acting IG, Akard said he would “not exercise the powers or duties” of director and would withdraw from any investigation involving the Office of Foreign Missions, “matters I have worked on in such a way. substantial ”and people he knows personally.
That was not enough to allay concerns among Democratic lawmakers about a conflict of interest.
Inspectors General are independent federal watchdogs assigned to different agencies and charged with investigating corruption, embezzlement and waste. The State Department’s Office of the Inspector General was investigating Pompeo and other senior officials for the department’s use of an emergency authority to bypass Congress and sell $ 8 billion in weapons to the Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as on the use of staff by Pompeo and his wife. for personal shopping.
House Democrats have probed Linick’s dismissal – issuing new subpoenas on Monday for four State Department officials to testify about decisions to fire Linick and approve emergency arms sales.
Akard was not among the recipients, although his resignation may make him available to speak to the committee now, as the ministry has rejected previous subpoenas for current officials.
Akard had told his staff he was approached to become an acting IG in April, weeks before Linick was officially notified of his dismissal, ABC News reported in June.
Pompeo denied that Linick’s dismissal was a retaliatory measure for probes – first by saying he was not aware of any investigation, then by answering questions about the arms sale investigation , he did not know the extent.
During closed-door testimony in June, Linick confirmed he was conducting an “administrative review” of allegations that Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo had inappropriately used department staff for personal errands as well as for emergency arms sales, and he revealed three previously unknowns. investigations involving the Pompeo office: an audit of the Special Immigrant Visa Program, a review of the International Women of Courage Award and a third involving individuals from the Office of Protocol amid allegations of “workplace violence”.
“We weren’t judging whether the policy was good or bad. We are non-partisan. We’re just looking at how the policies are implemented and whether they comply with applicable regulations and law, ”he said, adding that a senior Pompeo assistant told him the investigation wasn’t not “appropriate” and attempted to “intimidate” him into arresting him, according to a transcript released by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Benjamin Siegel of ABC News contributed to this report.