House GOP members say VOA is obstructing Persian service official’s investigation

Seven House Republicans want US Agency for International Information To explain why the agency director reassigned a friend at VOA who was due to be fired for inappropriate activities.

Texas Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and six other lawmakers complained in a letter to USAGM Director-designate Kilo Chow The agency is “blocking” requests for information on this issue.

“We are writing to request additional information regarding your role in the decision to reappoint a previously dismissed VOA official for misuse of taxpayer funds and fraudulent credentials,” the lawmakers said in their October 27 letter.

The Washington Times first revealed in February that Setareh Derakhshish Sage had returned to work as director of Persian language programs at Voice of America and then had been promoted to a senior position at US government radio.

House Republicans’ letter requested from USAGM To submit documents relating to the events that led to the return of the woman. win over, who was previously identified as the “Voice of America Official”.

“Every day that passes is another day USAGM “He refuses to expose corruption to the American people about corruption in his senior administration,” McCall told The Times. The agency should know that Congress will not back down on this issue. I will continue to push the agency and the Biden administration for transparency and honesty.”

According to officials and Voice of America documents, Ms. win over He was due to be fired in 2020 after an internal investigation revealed allegations she fake she has Academic credentials and government funds being misused. The investigation was carried out by USAGM Former President Trump appointed him, the team that was quickly replaced when President Biden took office in January.

Republican inquiries about a. win over Include allegations of improper grant of sole source contracts; allowing some employees to incorrectly charge a VOA for excessive overtime; wasted travel money; He falsely claims in working documents that he obtained a doctorate from the prestigious French Sorbonne University in Paris.

Mark Zedd, the attorney who represented Ms. Sage, referred questions on the matter to USAGM, but argued that Ms. win over Not “returned” in VOA due to she He never refused.

“In addition, in my opinion, these allegations are from biased employees who are not whistleblowers and who have an ideological agenda in relation to Iran,” Mr. Zaid said, adding that some of the employees’ protected information on the matter was made public in violation of the agency. Rules.

Mr. Zeid said Congress should care more about the leaked information than its misunderstanding of the French educational system.

Lori Moi USAGM “The agency receives the letter and reviews it,” said the director of public affairs.

And the letter from the House of Representatives Republicans said that the committee began investigating the matter in March after that USAGM Insiders were “sounding the alarm” about Ms. win overRe.

“Based on the whistleblower’s account and new information that has come to light, we remain concerned about hiring decisions at USAGMand the leadership under which those decisions were made,” the letter says.

According to the message, the USAGM Labor and labor relations staff told the Commission that the preliminary investigation of Ms. win over It was incomplete and therefore she He was rehired during further investigations.

Other supporters of Ms. Sieg conservative she He was targeted in a political purge by the former USAGM CEO Michael Buck, the agency’s first Senate confirmed executive who has run the agency during the Trump administration.

A second investigation by labor relations officers and employers included the same employees who underwent the first, and the report of its findings was “incomplete, and filled with omissions of facts and brief explanations that do not hold up when read alongside the longer and more detailed December. 2020 Notice of Proposed Removal” of Mrs. Sage, the letter states that.

Nor did the agency provide any evidence that Mr. Buck knew Ms. win over or was involved in she has Separation procedures.

The House committee sought additional information on the case but was denied.

The staff of the Commission then contacted the French Government and was informed that Ms. win over He “didn’t get a doctorate of any kind” from the Sorbonne, which is investigating the matter.

The letter states that “the relative ease with which our staff obtained this information calls into question the honesty, efficiency, and impartiality of the agency’s investigation.” “Based on the lack of transparency and communication with French officials, we have no choice but to ask whether the agency is preventing a cover-up of what happened, and is protecting the individuals involved from the consequences of their actions.”

According to the letter, Ms. chowInvolvement in the case is troubling because of she has personal relationship with mrs. win over. Ethics rules prevent government officials from making personal decisions about friends.

House Republicans also raised “serious questions” about Ms. win overa security permit.

They referred to the July 2020 report issued by the Office of Personnel Management which revealed deficiencies in how to do so USAGMOperations were used to grant access to secrets.

The letter states that “the most relevant part of the report, for our purposes, indicates that the general manager of the Persian News Network has not been investigated at the appropriate level.” “Worse, any further investigation that occurred may have never been completed.”

Members of Congress said Congress is looking for answers to what USAGM In order to “address persistent accusations of mismanagement, which has now spread to several departments”. Among the documents requested by members of Congress are all correspondence from the White House to Ms. chow and Mrs. win over.

Among those who signed the letter were Republican Representatives James Comer of Kentucky, a senior member of the Oversight and Reform Committee, John Curtis of Utah, Scott Perry, Jay Reichenthaler of Pennsylvania, Lee Zelden of New York and Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.

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