Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, violated ethics rules by misusing federal resources for personal benefit, according to the findings of an investigation by the State Department’s internal watchdog.
The report compiled by the Inspector General’s office in response to a whistleblower complaint found the Pompeos made more than 100 requests of State Department employees that were deemed personal in nature. The requests included tasks such as sending Christmas cards, making dinner reservations, taking care of their pets, buying tickets and planning events for officials with whom Pompeo had a nongovernmental relationship.
“OIG found that such requests were inconsistent with Department ethics rules and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch,” the federal watchdog said.
In one instance, the report noted that Pompeo’s wife directed the senior adviser to buy gifts, such as gold nut bowls, for guests at dinners that appeared to be personal rather than related to State Department business. The inspector general recommended the State Department clarify its guidance on whether federal funds can be used in this manner.
The Inspector General’s office said Pompeo had committed violations of federal standards of ethical conduct. However, since Pompeo no longer serves as secretary of state, the office said he was not subject to disciplinary action. Pompeo became a Fox News contributor earlier this month.
Instead, the watchdog made recommendations designed “to mitigate the risk of future senior leaders committing similar violations” and called on the State Department to clarify policies regarding what constituted an improper directive. The State Department said it would implement all of the recommendations.
Pompeo told investigators that requests made of State Department staffers were often small tasks. He likened them to “personal assistance of the type provided to longtime friends.”
Many of the requests from Pompeo and his wife were carried out by a longtime family assistant who served within the State Department as a senior adviser. The adviser told investigators that she performed the requests because she felt they were part of her job rather than personal favors.
The report found that the Pompeos’ requests often required work during non-duty hours and that the employees were not compensated for the extra work.
Politico was first to report on the investigation’s findings.
In a letter to the inspector general’s office, Pompeo’s attorneys denied he engaged in any wrongdoing and accused investigators of political bias.
“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,” Pompeo’s attorneys said in the letter.
“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 something nefarious,” they added. “At its worst, it is rife with deliberate misstatements and half-truths concocted to support the drafters’ seemingly politically motivated goal to find purported ethical lapses by Mr. Pompeo.”
A close ally to former President Donald Trump, Pompeo served as CIA director from 2017 to 2018. He left that role to serve as Secretary of State from 2018 until the end of Trump’s term in office.
Pompeo is considered a potential candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2024.