Pompeo Brings Back Controversial Madison Dinners Amid COVID-19

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department on June 10, 2020. Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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September 14, 2020 9:28 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slated to resume his luxurious Madison Dinners, which had garnered significant controversy earlier this year over the fact that most of the guests at the taxpayer-funded events were right-wing power brokers and corporate executives.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed to TPM that the dinners would continue, calling them a “world-class opportunity to discuss the mission of the State Department and the complex foreign policy matters facing our exceptional nation.”

“The Secretary looks forward to continuing these Madison Dinners as they are an important component of the execution of his duties as Secretary of State,” Ortagus said.

Per NBC News and Politico, three other dinners have been scheduled for September and October.

It is unclear who is on the guest list for the event on Monday. An official told NBC News that the ambassador to India would be one of the attendees.

In May, an NBC News investigation found that Pompeo and his wife had held two dozen of the ritzy soirees since 2018 up until March this year, in which most of the invitees were powerful conservative figures and billionaires. The guest lists raised questions over whether the top Trump administration official was using taxpayer money to cultivate a donor base for a potential future political campaign.

Plans for the dinners were put on hold in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pompeo is under investigation for a litany of alleged misuse of office, including having a staffer run errands for him and his wife and speaking at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) in violation of the Hatch Act.

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