Monday, April 18, 2011

What? Insufficient time spent petting those little dogs?

Douglas Kmiec, the conservative law prof who made a small stir by supporting Obama in 2008, was rewarded by being named ambassador to Malta.

Now, having been criticized by the State Department's inspector general for excessive extracurricular activity, Kmiec has resigned:
The American ambassador to Malta resigned his post Saturday after criticism from the State Department's inspector general that he was devoting too much time to promoting better relations between religions.

Douglas Kmiec, a prominent conservative constitutional lawyer and member of the Pepperdine University faculty, said in letters to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he rejected the inspector general's conclusion that his advocacy was outside his official mission.

Kmiec wrote that the inspector general had a "flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission" and said his writings had a "highly positive effect on our diplomatic relations."
He thinks he knows why the IG targeted him:
Kmiec said that when he worked for the Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 he recommended that inspector generals' work be confined to rooting out waste rather than evaluating departmental policies.

"I suspect I have just experienced a 'sting back,'" Kmiec wrote to Clinton.
Based on the article's description of Kmiec's transgressions, I gotta say I'm on his side:
But the inspector general's report, issued in February, says he had an "unconventional approach to his role" and devoted much time to writing on the "interfaith initiative." It said his official schedule was "uncharacteristically light," and that he had had "friction with principal officials in Washington, especially over his reluctance to accept their guidance and instructions."

At the same time, the report says, Kmiec had "achieved some policy successes" and was respected by Maltese officials and embassy staff members.

Department officials spent considerable time reviewing and editing Kmiec's writings related to religion, and they barred him from organizing conferences aimed at improving relations between religions, officials said.
Uh, excuse me? The guy is ambassador to Malta. I'm not even sure why we *have* a full ambassador in Malta, but how demanding can the job be? He could probably spend 10 hours a week on his "official schedule" and do just fine.

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