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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) announced Tuesday the five individuals who will serve as the heads of the agency's two federal organizations and three public service broadcasting networks on an interim basis.

Why it matters: The former leaders of the organizations were dismissed by USAGM's new CEO and Trump appointee Michael Pack. The dismissals and restructuring of the organization have caused concern among Democrats that the Trump administration intends to use the agency as a "political arm" of the administration.

  • Former agency leads are also raising concerns over the legality of the reshuffle.
  • A nonprofit group last week filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Open Technology Fund, an independent grantee of the USAGM, alleging that the dismissals were illegal.

The state of play:

  • Elez Biberaj will serve as the Voice of America's acting director.
  • Jeffrey Scott Shapiro will serve as the acting director at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
  • Parameswaran Ponnudurai will serve as Radio Free Asia’s acting president.
  • Kelley Sullivan will serve as the Middle East Broadcasting Networks's acting president.
  • Daisy Sindelar will serve as RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty’s acting president.

The big picture: It’s still unclear what the purpose was in clearing out all of the agency leads.

Go deeper

Scoop: Open Technology Fund asks Inspector General to investigate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Open Technology Fund is requesting that the U.S. Office of the Inspector General investigate its parent, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), for breaching a firewall provision that is supposed to protect government-funded media agencies from political interference.

The big picture: The move is the latest in a very messy fight between the USAGM and one of the organizations it oversees. Earlier on Monday, journalists at another USAGM agency, Voice of America, wrote a letter to their interim CEO alleging that the new head of USAGM was endangering the agency's reporters.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.

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