US diplomat accused of political retribution steps down

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior State Department official accused of carrying out political retribution against career diplomats deemed insufficiently supportive of President Donald Trump has announced he is stepping down.

In a note sent to colleagues Friday, Kevin Moley said his “long-planned retirement” would take effect on Nov. 29, the date of his 50th wedding anniversary. Moley serves as the assistant secretary of state for International Organization Affairs.

“You have been great colleagues,” he wrote. “Keep up the fight.”

His four-sentence note made no mention of the controversy surrounding him and his former senior adviser Marie Stull.

In an August report, the State Department’s inspector general documented allegations from career employees that Moley and Stull had retaliated or tried to retaliate against them because they had served in the previous administration. Stull left the department earlier this year.

The report said employees had reported that Moley and Stull “frequently berated employees, raised their voices, and generally engaged in unprofessional behavior toward staff.”

“Numerous employees told (the inspector general) that Assistant Secretary Moley and Ms. Stull made inappropriate accusations of disloyalty and made positive or negative comments about employees based on perceived political views,” the report said, adding that Stull had referred to career employees as “‘Obama holdovers,’ ‘traitors,’ or ‘disloyal.'”

In a response to the report, Moley denied any unprofessional behavior and disputed the inspector general’s characterizations of numerous meetings he had with superiors to discuss concerns about his leadership of the bureau. The report said Moley failed to respond to repeated suggestions on how to improve conditions and only reluctantly agreed to bring on a career assistant to help resolve the concerns.

The State Department had said at the time that it would provide a corrective action plan, as recommended by the inspector general, within 60 days. That 60 days expired with no action earlier this month. The lack of action was a contributing factor in the decision by one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s senior advisers, Michael McKinley, to resign last week.

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