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State Department employee linked to white nationalist group

The State Department confirmed a man who has been linked to a white nationalist group in Washington D.C. is a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources. Politico and NBC News reported Matthew Gebert is on leave pending an investigation. 

According to evidence turned up by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Gebert oversaw the Washington D.C.-chapter of a white nationalist organization. A State Department spokesperson said Friday they could not comment on personnel issues but said they are "committed to providing an inclusive workplace." 

Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch researchers linked Gebert to the pseudonym "Coach Finstock," who posted from several Twitter accounts and appeared on the podcast "The Fatherland." Accounts linked to Coach Finstock have been deleted. 

Gebert, as "Coach Finstock," allegedly told a white supremacist podcast that there are "there are bigger things than a career and a paycheck" and he was "prepared" to lose his, "because this is the most important thing to me in my life… in tandem with my family, of course."

"[Whites] need a country of our own with nukes, and we will retake this thing lickety split," "Coach Finstock" said on a May 2018 episode of "The Fatherland," according to Southern Poverty Law Center. 

State Department employees are allowed to participate in political activities in their free time but they are prohibited from participating some political activities while on duty. Employees are also prohibited from posting on social media about politics while at work and are not allowed to refer to their official title or position while engaging in political activity on social media.

Gebert joined the State Department in 2013 as a presidential management fellow, according to a George Washington University alumni magazine cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The position makes him a civil service employee, not a presidential appointee. 

Christina Ruffini contributed reporting.

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