Cummings Asks Gowdy to Subpoena State Department Documents on Trump Appointee’s Retaliation Against Career Employees

Sep 19, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 19, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter asking Chairman Trey Gowdy to subpoena the State Department for documents it has refused to produce about Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and significant acts of retaliation against career State Department employees when he served as Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Policy Planning.


On March 15, 2018, Cummings sent a letter with Rep. Eliot Engel, the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to the White House and the State Department expressing concern over Hook’s involvement in political retaliation against State Department employees.  They cited documents obtained from a whistleblower showing political appointees targeting career civil servants they believed did not adequately support President Donald Trump’s agenda. 

The State Department refused to provide any of the documents the Ranking Members requested and declined to make Hook or any other officials available for interviews.  Instead, on August 16, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he was promoting Hook to lead the State Department’s Iran Action Group as Special Representative for Iran. 

On August 22, 2018, Cummings and Engel sent another letter asking Secretary Pompeo to produce documents relating to Hook’s reported acts of retaliation, as well as about measures the State Department has taken to investigate and stop retaliation against career employees.  The Department ignored the request.

“Just as with the multiple prior letters we sent about political retaliation against career employees, the State Department has not responded to our letter and has not produced the documents we requested,” Cummings wrote.  “I am writing to ask you to put the full force of our Committee behind investigating repeated allegations of political cleansing of career employees at the State Department.”

Cummings asked Gowdy to issue a subpoena to compel the State Department to produce the documents or, if Gowdy chose not to issue this subpoena himself, that he place this matter on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled business meeting so all Committee Members have the opportunity to vote on a motion to issue this subpoena. 

Click here to read today’s letter.

115th Congress