Oct 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Office of Special Counsel investigating whether Pompeo broke federal law

Mike Pompeo wears a suit
Mike Pompeo at a D.C. press conference on Oct. 21. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by giving a speech to the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem, House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a Monday press release.

The big picture: Trump aide Kellyanne Conway did not receive disciplinary action after the special counsel recommended she be removed from service in 2019 after violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in "any part" of a political campaign while officially serving in the government.

Catch up quick: As America's top diplomat, Pompeo broke State Department precedent by speaking at the RNC from abroad — a partisan event that was formatted entirely to focus on President Trump.

What they're saying: Engel and Lowey accused Pompeo of misusing State Department funds "as vehicles for the Administration's, and his own, political ambitions," pointing to a special counsel investigation of Pompeo allegedly misusing agency resources as he tours swing states.

  • The counsel is also investigating Pompeo's "stated commitment to rush out more of Hillary Clinton's emails by Election Day," Engel and Lowey said. Pompeo vowed to release information on Clinton's emails, which President Trump made a major focus of his 2016 presidential campaign, early this month.
  • The agency has "repeatedly missed" deadlines to provide documents on Pompeo's domestic speeches, Engel and Lowey said.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Go deeper