The World of International Organizations Explained

Top U.S. envoy for multilateralism resigns

Kevin Moley, U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, front right, listens to the World Health Assembly at Geneva in May (ARÊTE/Eric Bridiers)

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. diplomat to international organizations announced on Friday he will resign in late November, three months after a government watchdog report documented allegations he retaliated against career diplomats.

Kevin Moley, who was appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump to serve as the assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs in 2018, told colleagues he was retiring on Nov. 29, his 50th wedding anniversary.

“You have been great colleagues,” he wrote in a note that did not mention the allegations against him and his former senior aide, Mari Stull. “Keep up the fight.”

The State Department’s Office of Inspector General, or OIG, released a report in August reviewing allegations of politicized and other improper personnel practices against career employees in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, the nation’s main liaison to the United Nations and other international organizations.

The report focused on allegations that Moley and Stull, who left the State Department earlier this year, retaliated or attempted to punish employees who served in the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama and who they believed were not fully supportive of the Trump administration’s Republican politics and “America First” policies.

“OIG found evidence of leadership and management deficiencies and mistreatment of career employees in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs,” the report concluded.

“These inappropriate practices included disrespectful and hostile treatment of employees, accusations against and harassment of career employees premised on claims that they were “disloyal” based on their perceived political views, and retaliation associated with conflicts of interest,” it said.

The report also said it examined two personnel actions, one involving the removal of a career employee and the other involving the cancellation of a hiring process, and found evidence that both actions “were likely based on non-merit factors and thus violated department policy.”

A ‘vindictive culture’

The OIG said its review came partly in response to a request from members of U.S. Congress who were concerned about an article published by Foreign Policy in June 2018 that reported Stull was vetting the political affiliation and views of career employees, causing several of them to leave.

“Numerous employees told OIG 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.

“For example, several career employees reported that throughout her tenure at the Department, Ms. Stull referred to them or to other career employees as ‘Obama holdovers,’ ‘traitors,’ or ‘disloyal,’ ” it said.

Moley previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva during the previous Republican administration of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. Moley denied any unprofessional behavior, and he disputed the report’s conclusion that he had failed to respond to career employees’ requests for improvements in their work conditions.

He said in his response to the report that “the behavior attributed to me regarding raising my voice, berating employees, and contributing to a hostile work environment does not represent the person I am or have ever been.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York, said soon after the report was released, however, that it confirmed the fears of some of those in Congress — and he called for Moley to resign or be fired, because it appeared that Moley had “done nothing to stop this vindictive culture.”

The world of international organizations explained.

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