Investigation Update: Loyalty Tests and Retaliation

Recently, the State Department’s Inspector General opened an investigation into retaliation by a Trump administration official against career diplomats and non-political employees suspected of being disloyal to President Donald Trump.

The Office of Special Counsel is also investigating the same official, Mari Stull – a former wine blogger who President Trump appointed to a senior State Department post. Stull has reportedly been monitoring social media accounts of State Department employees to detect evidence of potential disloyalty.

American Oversight has submitted FOIAs to find out more about Mari Stull’s role at State and her loyalty investigations.  

We’ve also been investigating expectations of loyalty across the government, as well as attempts to purge employees who used to work in the Obama administration. Our team has submitted FOIAs to multiple agencies to find out if retaliation for perceived disloyalty is happening at departments beyond State.

So far, emails we obtained have shown this attitude at other agencies, including an email claiming that “POTUS needs of the loyal help he can get” and communications with an alt-right commentator about “Never Trumpers.” [sic]

It’s clear from the resumes of unqualified appointees we’ve obtained that President Trump values loyalty over experience. Numerous resumes of political appointees hired by the administration include statements of personal loyalty to the president.

American Oversight submitted FOIAs Seeking:
  • State Department official & former wine blogger Mari Stull’s communications, calendars, emails, and internet search history to related to her review of State employees’ social media pages for ideological deviation.
  • Communications from senior State Department officials including U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Kevin Edward Moley containing search terms such as Loyal, Loyalty, Holdover, “Deep State,” MAGA, Swamp, and “America First.”
  • Records to shed light on the targeting of holdover employees from the Obama administration.
  • Records from multiple agencies to determine whether or not senior administration officials have expressed expectations of loyalty and attempted to purge oppositional employees.
  • All agreements, certifications, oaths, commitments, or other pledges required from HHS political appointees or career staff prior to employment.
We’ve Received Records From the Following Agencies:
No Records Responses:

Part of Investigation: