The further President Joe Biden digs into the agencies in his government the worse it gets. Take the Voice of America, which is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and the United State’s oldest and largest international broadcaster. Hours after he took office, Biden canned CEO Michael Pack for firing five whistleblowers on the same day, August 12, 2020. What he did next was even better.
Acting CEO of the agency Kelu Chao sent a staff email obtained by The Hill that read those five whistleblowers had been reinstated:
‘Deputy Director for Operations [Matt] Walsh, Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Powers, Chief Financial Officer Grant Turner, General Counsel David Kligerman, and Executive Director Oanh Tran have all returned to their positions at the agency.’
Chao said about the wall that kept Voice of America independent and free of politicization:
‘[Each employee went] to great lengths to try to defend the firewall.’
These five employees had each expressed their displeasure regarding management decisions during their time at USAGM. More importantly, they disagreed with the government interfering with the Voice of America. That was when they filed their whistleblower complaints.
Chao removed all Pack-appointed board members and heads of agencies. According to USAG:
‘She reappointed several people Pack had removed when he took office in June. Among them was Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, whom Chao brought back to help oversee the three organizations that broadcast in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.’
The law firm Pack hired violated the federal regulations. Not only that, but the no-bid contracts were also flawed. No-bids would have been okay if the agency had provided written justification. It did not.
Senior Counsel at the Government Accountability Project (GAO) and attorney for the whistleblowers, David Seide said, according to the Washington Post:
‘My assumption [is that] Pack was in a hurry.’
During the Trump administration and under Pack’s thumb, the agency was not only politicized. Any employee who expressed negative comments about Trump was dealt with by retribution.
During his time at USAGM, 30-plus employees complained formally to Pack. One of them recently gave testimony at a House Foreign Affairs Committee oversight hearing, The Hill reported:
‘Significant problems have befallen the agency since CEO Michael Pack arrived and I have deep concerns about the trajectory USAGM is on. I know many of you share these concerns. Like you, I am worried about the credibility and the goodwill of our networks being destroyed. It has taken literally decades to build this trust with our audiences. Tragically, it can be destroyed far more quickly.’
Pack was a conservative filmmaker prior to taking over USAGM and decided it would be a good use of two million taxpayer dollars to investigate USAGM journalists. He also diverted four million dollars from USAGM to his own documentary business via a nonprofit he manages, according to The Washington Post.
The attorney for the whistleblowers Seide said:
‘This is a repudiation of the Trump administration policies, Mr. Pack, and his enablers.’
However, he did say repairing the damage that Trump had done was still a “work in progress.” He added he needed to heal trust between management and USAGM employees:
‘To rebuild a reputation takes time.’
On December 15, 2020 Trump named Robert Reilly as the new director of Voice of America, according to YouTube:
‘But many people, including VoA employees, are calling for Reilly’s appointment to be rescinded because of views he’s expressed on homosexuals and Muslims. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik discusses Reilly’s appointment and recent turmoil at Voice of America.’
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