The Democratic chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is calling for the new head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) to testify before lawmakers following a purge of senior staff at the department he oversees.
Michael Pack, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSouth Korea slams Bolton book as ‘distorting the reality’ of nuclear talks Democrats face tough questions with BoltonProtesters try to bring down statue of Andrew Jackson near White HouseMOREs pick to lead the congressionally-funded media agency, has drawn criticism from Democrats who say his appointment threatens the independence and compromises the credibility of the government-funded international broadcasters.
Pack dismissed last week the heads of three international broadcast networks for Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the head of an internet freedom grantee organization, and came under fire from both Democrats and conservative commentators.
The law requires that American international broadcasting be independent from influence by any administration officialincluding the CEO, Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse Democrats call for testimony from top State officials over watchdog firingOvernight Defense: Highlights from the House Armed Services subcommittees’ defense bill sections | Bill would ask troops if they’ve faced ‘racist, anti-Semitic or supremacist’ activity | Pompeo aide testifying next week on watchdog’s ousterThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Progressives raise expectations ahead of big primary night MORE (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.
The chairman criticized Pack for appointing right-wing ideologues and Trump loyalists, specifically highlighting Jonathan Alexandre, who is reported to be on the board of Radio Free Asia and expected to be a corporate board member of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, CNBC reported.
Alexandre is Senior Counsel for Governmental Affairs at Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action, a Christian ministry and advocacy organization for religious freedom that argues against protections for the LGBTQ community and is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Mr. Pack should explain to the Committee and the American people his vision for the agency, the reason for terminating so many senior staff all at once, and his other initial actions as CEO, Engel said in his statement.
The Hill reached out to the USAGM for comment.