Coronavirus Relief Fund Watchdog Who Was Ousted By Trump Resigns From Pentagon

Nina Golgowski

Glenn Fine, who was set to monitor the government’s $2 trillion in coronavirus relief spending until President Donald Trump abruptly removed him last month, has resigned from the Defense Department.

Fine announced his departure from the department in a statement on Tuesday, Politico was the first to report. He had been serving as the Pentagon’s acting inspector general when Trump suddenly ousted him from that role in early April.

Fine had been selected on March 30 to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which is a panel of 10 inspectors general tasked with limiting fraud, wrongdoing and mismanagement in the spending of more than $2 trillion in emergency coronavirus funds allocated by Congress in the CARES Act.

One week later, Trump removed him as acting IG, a role he had since the final year of the Obama administration. He was replaced with Sean O’Donnell, the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of his removal, Fine was no longer eligible to serve as the PRAC’s chairperson.

Then-U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine is seen testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2003. (Photo: Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

“It has been an honor to serve in the Inspector General community, both as the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and the DoD Acting Inspector General and Principal Deputy Inspector General performing the duties of the DoD Inspector General,” Fine said in a statement obtained by HuffPost. “The role of Inspectors General is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way. They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system.”

Fine is just the latest federal watchdog to be removed by Trump in recent months.

The president fired Steve Linick as the State Department’s inspector general earlier this month. At the time of his removal, Linick had reportedly been investigating why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had fast-tracked more than $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies in May 2019.

In early April, Trump also fired Michael Atkinson as inspector general of the intelligence community. Atkinson has said he believes he was removed because of his handling of the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment.

Michael Horowitz, chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency and the inspector general at the Department of Justice, defended Atkinson upon his termination and cited Atkinson’s known “integrity, professionalism and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight.”

“That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done ‘by the book’ and consistent with the law,” Horowitz said.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.