Aug 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

State Dept. memos warn employees against attending political party conventions

Mike Pompeo wears a suit and tie

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 24. Photo: Debbie Hill/pool/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department warned employees last month to not "improperly engage" the agency in "the political process" as the 2020 election draws near, per an internal memo released by House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Monday.

Why it matters: Pompeo is slated to speak Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

Between the lines: The memo implores employees to follow the Hatch Act, which restricts federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. Politico first reported on the memos.

What they're saying: A separate document from the agency's legal office, released by Engel and dated Dec. 2019, says that Senate-confirmed presidential appointees may not attend a political party convention or convention-related event.

  • “Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity," a State Department spokesperson emailed in a statement.
  • "No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo's appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance," the spokesperson said.

Read the 2019 memo:

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