Personal requests by the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo during his 33-month tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat ran afoul of ethical rules in a new report by the senior watchdog for the Department of State.
WASHINGTON (CN) — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan misused department resources over 100 times, tapping a host of federal employees for errands unrelated to official duties and in violation of ethics rules, a State Department watchdog report found Friday.
From booking personal dinners or trips to a museum to requesting staffers mail off family Christmas cards or schedule nail salon appointments, in over a hundred instances the one-time Trump administration official instructed State Department employees to “carry out tasks of a personal nature to benefit him and Mrs. Pompeo,” the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General concluded.
Pompeo, the 26-page assessment states, even went so far as to hire and designate a political appointee to carry out his personal requests specifically.
The findings were compiled following an investigation by the OIG that started when a whistleblower complaint alleged State Department staff were often asked to undertake tasks divorced from their taxpayer-funded duties for the Pompeos.
Politico was first to report on the assessment Friday.
William Burck, Pompeo’s lawyer, said in a letter to acting inspector Diana Shaw the claims against the former secretary were “cherrypicked.”
“Rather than a fair, independent and impartial review of the facts and relevant rules, the Draft Report is replete with factual errors and incoherent and unjustified conclusions that betray the drafters’ apparent biases against Mr. Pompeo and his family,” Burck wrote on April 2 after the secretary had evaluated a copy of the report for himself.
The findings were meant to “twist innocent, routine and even praise-worthy behavior into something nefarious,” Burck wrote.
Pompeo argues his requests were common, ultimately falling into the category of small favors one friend might ask another.
For example, the former secretary should not be penalized, Burck wrote to Shaw early this month, for having an employee help “pick up and drop off Pompeo’s dog at a boarder when they traveled and god forbid, letting the dog out of the house when nature called. The same could be said for asking a staffer to make a dinner reservation at the Cheesecake Factory, the letter states.
The OIG report is little more than a political axe to grind for investigators Burck contends, pointing to former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick as the driving force behind the report’s allegations.
There is no evidence Linick drummed up the report to antagonize or harass Pompeo.
“OIG notes that this review began when OIG received a whistleblower complaint regarding Secretary Pompeo’s conduct in 2019, long before he terminated former Inspector General Linick,” the report states. “Moreover, the review is largely based on documentary evidence, namely emails between Susan Pompeo and Department employees, regarding requests that no one is disputing were made.
“Finally, the report has been subject to OIG’s rigorous quality assurance processes, including multiple levels of review, a legal sufficiency review and independent fact-checking in accordance with OIG’s professional standards. Thus, any allegation of bias or political motivation is not borne out by the facts, which speak for themselves.”
“At no time did I, or my wife Susan, misuse taxpayer money or violate rules or ethical norms. Our actions were constantly reviewed by dozens of lawyers, and we made massive efforts, and did, comply with every requirement,” Pompeo said in a statement Friday evening. “This latest IG report is yet another attempt to slander me and worse, my wife by our own government. The report is filled with factual errors and out of context acts between my wife and her friend of over 30 years that have been twisted into lies meant to sully our good work for the people of America.”