The State Department inspector general found that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife, Susan, bypassed written approval from the State Department for the majority of the taxpayer funded trips she took within a two-year period.
In its report, the State OIG concluded that Susan Pompeo took eight official trips between April 2018 to April 2020. Out of those trips, only two had documentation of written approval. Four trips were given verbal approval by the under secretary of management, but he did not document his approval. There is no indication of approval for the remaining two trips.
Official travel means that the trips are government-funded. Otherwise, any non-official passengers on those flights must reimburse the government.
“For family travel that is considered representational, not only does the family member not have to reimburse the government for the flight(s), but he or she also receives significant travel support from the Department at no cost, including provision of a control officer and many hours of support from Department employees,” the State OIG said.
The State OIG’s office recommended that the department seek written approval for all future travel by family members, but did not suggest any firings or penalties in its report.
“OIG recommends that in order to ensure that the Department has appropriate documentation for internal control and record keeping purposes, the Office of the Secretary seek and gain written approval for all representational travel, and that the Under Secretary for Management or other authorizing official document in writing the approval for all representational trips by any family members,” the State Department’s inspector general said.
The State OIG’s report was prompted by a whistleblower complaint into Susan Pompeo’s trips. A State OIG investigation into the Pompeos’ misuse of State Department resources is still ongoing.
The secretary of state has faced backlash in the past year for potential violations of the Hatch Act, which included delivering taped remarks from Jerusalem during this year’s Republican National Convention.
Late last year, rumors began swirling that the secretary of state would enter the Kansas Senate race as his trips to his home state have been official visits paid for by the State Department.
Democrats filed a complaint that alleged Pompeo violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activities while acting in an official capacity. Pompeo dismissed the complaint as “silliness” from “left-coast, elitist liberalism” in an interview with a Kansas-based radio station.