IG Knocks Pompeo For Having State Staff Do Errands That Were ‘Personal In Nature’

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled “Evaluating the Trump Administration’s Policies on Iran, Iraq and the Use of Force,” in Rayburn Building on Friday, February 28, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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April 16, 2021 5:24 p.m.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo relied on State Department staff to do errands for them that were “personal in nature,” a State Department Inspector General draft report — first obtained Friday by Politico — said.

That work included “picking up personal items, planning events unrelated to the Department’s mission, and conducting such personal business as pet care and mailing personal Christmas cards,” the OIG report said.

“OIG found that such requests were inconsistent with Department ethics rules and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.” 

The office — which is headed by acting Inspector General Diana Shaw — launched its investigation after a whistleblower complaint. With “only a few exceptions,” however, the inspector general did not find that the Pompeos “made personal requests to the special agents in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security who were protecting them,” as the whistleblower complaint had also alleged.

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Nevertheless, the OIG said that it found “over 100 requests” that the Pompeos made of State Department employees that were at least questionable in nature given how department resources were being used. The OIG found only three examples of such requests made to their protective agents.

In a letter responding to the report that was included in its appendix, Mike Pompeo’s lawyer William Burck said that, “at best, the Draft Report amounts to little more than a compilation of picayune complaints cherry-picked by the drafters in an effort to twist innocent, routine and even praise-worthy behavior into somethin nefarious.” 

Running through the laundry list of errands included in the report, Burck said the inspector general’s office may as well have included “instances in which people did the common courtesy of holding the door open for Mr. or Mrs. Pompeo when they entered or exited a room.” 

According to the report, Susan Pompeo often used her official State Department account to request that State Employees do things like send flowers for sick friend, purchase gifts, print photos as keepsakes, plan events not associated with Mike Pompeo’s duties as secretary of state, and obtain copies of a magazine that profiled her husband.

Susan Pompeo also repeatedly asked a State Department senior advisor to take care of the family dog.

“These requests, most of which were made via email to the Senior Advisor’s Department email account, included picking the dog up from their home and dropping it off with a boarder; picking it up from the boarder and returning it to their home; and stopping by their home to let the dog out when they were not at home,” the report said.

The report also outlined the help that Susan Pompeo asked of State Department employees for personal making appointments (including two hair appointments), drafting a med school letter of recommendation for someone with no ties to the department, and sending Christmas cards.

“In his interview with OIG, Secretary Pompeo stated that he believed this request was proper because it was only ‘a tiny task,” the report said, referring to the Christmas card mailing,  “and that he had reimbursed the Department for the cost of printing the personal Christmas cards.”

The Pompeos also tasked State Department employees with making dozens of restaurant reservations, according to the report. 

In June 2018, Mike Pompeo even directed a career State Department employee to make a Sunday brunch reservation at the Cheesecake Factory, the report said. 

The report is hardly the first time the Pompeos have been accused of running afoul of government ethics standards. Mike Pompeo’s tenure in the Trump administration attracted scrutiny for his lavish dinners with GOP power players on the taxpayer dime and unapproved government trips taken by Susan Pompeo

The secretary faced additional investigations for hinting at releasing additional emails from former Secretary Hillary Clinton “before the election,” and separately for speaking to the Republican National Convention while on a diplomatic trip to the Middle East. And that was all before he called for “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” — on Nov. 10.

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