Pompeos violated rules on use of State Department resources, IG finds

Source: Politico | April 16, 2021 | Nahal Toosi

From booking salon appointments to buying gold nut bowls, Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, asked State employees to carry out personal tasks more than 100 times.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules governing the use of taxpayer-funded resources when he and his wife, Susan, asked State Department employees to carry out tasks for their personal benefit more than 100 times, a government watchdog has determined.

POLITICO obtained a copy of the report on the Pompeos, which was put together by the State Department’s inspector general’s office.

The report has been long awaited in Washington, where Pompeo is seen as a potential 2024 Republican presidential contender. The investigation into his and his wife’s actions came to light last year after Pompeo engineered the firing of Steve Linick, then the inspector general of the State Department.

By digging through emails and other documents and interviewing staff members, investigators uncovered scores of instances in which Mike or Susan Pompeo asked State Department staffers to handle tasks of a personal nature, from booking salon appointments and private dinner reservations to picking up their dog and arranging tours for the Pompeos’ political allies. Employees told investigators that they viewed the requests from Susan Pompeo, who was not on the federal payroll, as being backed by the secretary.

Mike Pompeo, in an interview with investigators, insisted that the requests were often small and the types of things friends do for friends. His lawyer, William Burck, slammed a draft version of the report he received as a politically biased “compilation of picayune complaints cherry-picked by the drafters.”

The inspector general’s office, however, defended the investigation, noting that many of the rules governing such interactions are clear, do not make exceptions for small tasks, and that the Pompeos’ requests ultimately added up to use a significant amount of the time of employees paid by taxpayers.

The tasks the staff members were assigned varied widely.

Susan Pompeo, for instance, asked staff members to buy a T-shirt for a friend; arrange for flowers to be sent to friends recovering from sickness; and help her book hair salon appointments when she was in New York during the U.N. General Assembly and had to meet with foreign dignitaries. One year, a senior adviser to the secretary and a senior Foreign Service officer came in on a weekend “to envelope, address, and mail personal Christmas cards for the Pompeos,” the report states.

State Department staff members also found themselves given more intense assignments, such as planning events, including for groups with which the Pompeos were affiliated but in a non-governmental capacity.

The apparently personal Pompeo tasks required time either when they were on-duty or off-duty, the report states. The Pompeos did not separately compensate the staffers for the non-State Department-related work, the report states.

The report extensively mentions the personal tasks handled by one State employee, using only the title “senior adviser,” but its description of her background matches that of Toni Porter, who joined Pompeo at Foggy Bottom as a senior adviser after working for him when he was in Congress and head of the CIA.

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