The State Department pushed back when prompted on Wednesday against the Hillary Clinton campaign’s criticism against the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
“I believe the secretary has every confidence in the inspector general’s ability to carry his mission,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a daily press briefing.
Toner was asked about a report from The Hill published on Tuesday in which Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta attacked the OIG based upon an unidentified whistleblower’s claims that the agency has an “anti-Clinton” bias. (RELATED: Ethically Challenged Clinton Aide Questions Ethics Of State Department IG)
The OIG, which is led by Steven Linick, an Obama appointee, has reportedly subpoenaed Clinton’s family charity, the Clinton Foundation, for records related to its contact with the State Department during the former secretary of state’s tenure. Linick’s office also investigated Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s “special government employee” work status while she served at State.
“This person’s account is highly troubling, and is cause to ask serious questions about the independence of this office,” Podesta responded to The Hill when told of the whistleblower’s claims.
The line of attack is not the first lobbed by the Clinton campaign at an inspector general. In January, campaign spokesman Brian Fallon accused the intelligence community’s Obama-appointed inspector general, I. Charles McCullough III, of coordinating with Republicans to leak damaging findings about investigations into Clinton’s emails.
Following up on Podesta’s recent comments, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, who serves as ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, penned a letter to Linick calling on deputy IG Emilia DiSanto to recuse herself from any Clinton-related inquiries.
DiSanto previously worked for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley is conducting another investigation into Clinton’s emails. Engel, as well as Clinton’s campaign team, have alleged that DiSanto is responsible for leaks from the IG’s office to Republicans and the press.
A spokesman from Linick pushed back Tuesday against accusations of political bias.
“Partisan politics play no role in OIG’s work,” the spokesman told The Hill.