'Takes one’s breath away': Voice of America CEO found 'responsible for numerous improper activities'

'Takes one’s breath away': Voice of America CEO found 'responsible for numerous improper activities'
Image via CBS/screengrab

Michael Pack, the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which oversees Voice of America, was recently found responsible for several instances of misconduct, according to a federal inquiry, Rolling Stone reports.

Per NPR, the former President Donald Trump appointed leader, in 2020, "met with a career employee to discuss which senior leaders at the agency and the Voice of America should be forced out due to their perceived political beliefs," and "firing someone over political affiliation is typically a violation of federal civil service law."

Rolling Stone reports:

The Office of Special Counsel found that 'during his less-than-eight-month tenure CEO [Michael] Pack was responsible for numerous improper activities,' including 'abuse of authority, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation.' The OSC's report concluded that Pack 'abused his authority and retaliated against career USAGM executives who engaged in whistleblowing.'

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Furthermore, according to Rolling Stone "the OSC found that Pack interfered with independent journalism at Voice of America and other outlets he oversaw; retaliated against executives who filed whistleblower complaints; and mismanaged and wasted funds by paying $1.6 million in a confidential, no-bid contract to a Virginia law firm to investigate USAGM executives. Pack also 'restricted employee communications with outside parties [and] failed to exempt legally protected disclosures.'"

Regarding what was said about employees' political beliefs, NPR reports an employee wrote "Hates Republicans" in a memo, while another said, "Openly despises Trump and Republicans."

David Seide, a lawyer "with the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit public interest law firm which has represented more than 30 whistleblowers at USAGM, VOA and its sister networks since Pack took office," according to NPR, said, "This report is remarkable in its breadth and depth and detail of the wrongdoing that was underway at these agencies in the last six months of the Trump administration."

He added, "It just takes one's breath away."

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Rolling Stone's full report is available at this link (subscription required). NPR's report is here.

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