Government investigators will look into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo illegally used his office for President Donald Trump’s political gain, the Office of Special Counsel said Monday.
The office is in charge of investigating potential Hatch Act violations; the law bars executive branch employees from using their offices for political ends, and according to a recent complaint, Pompeo did just that when he pledged to release emails from former secretary Hillary Clinton “before the election.”
“We’ve got the emails, we’re getting them out. We’re going to get all this information out so the American people can see it,” Pompeo told Fox News’s Dana Perino earlier this month.
“We’re doing it as fast as we can,” he added. “I certainly think there’ll be more to see before the election.”
Pompeo was responding to pressure from President Donald Trump himself, who’d said of Clinton’s emails a day earlier: “They’re in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually. I’m not happy about him for that reason. He was unable to get them out. I don’t know why. You’re running the State Department, you get them out.”
In a letter dated Friday, the watchdog group American Oversight wrote to the Office of Special Counsel that Pompeo’s comment “warrants an investigation of whether Secretary Pompeo has given directives or orders to State employees in violation of the Hatch Act.”
Pompeo has faced numerous allegations that he’s politicized his office, including when he addressed the Republican National Committee during a trip to Jerusalem, and over the lavish taxpayer-funded dinner he’s hosted with VIPs, including deep-pocketed Republican donors.
Pompeo told a reporter last week that it was “ridiculous” to ask whether his move to release Clinton emails before Election Day illegally politicized his office.
“Releasing emails for the sake of transparency can’t possibly be a violation of the Hatch Act,” the secretary said. “That’s a ridiculous question.”