Mike Pompeo faces another probe for possible Hatch Act violations: report

Mike Pompeo faces another probe for possible Hatch Act violations: report
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to the media at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 2020. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett]

During the 2020 Republican National Convention in late August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an RNC speech while visiting Israel. And the Office of the Special Counsel, according to CNN reporters Nicole Gaouette and Kylie Atwood, is investigating Pompeo for possible violations of the Hatch Act — which forbids federal employees from engaging in overtly political activity on the job.

This probe, Gaouette and Atwood explain, is "the second investigation into potential Hatch Act violations that the OSC has opened into Pompeo, whose use of resources and decision-making at the State Department, along with his wife's, have triggered a series of investigations by the agency's inspector general."

In a joint statement on October 27, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elliot Engel and Rep. Nita Lowey — who chairs the House Appropriations Committee — said, "Our offices have confirmed that the Office of Special Counsel has launched a probe into potential Hatch Act violations tied to Secretary Pompeo's speech to the Republican National Convention. This information comes on the heels of reporting that OSC is also looking into Secretary Pompeo's stated commitment to rush out more of Hillary Clinton's e-mails by Election Day and as the secretary has misused State Department resources on his speech tour of swing states."

Engel and Lowey continued, "As we get closer to both this year's election and his own inevitable return to electoral politics, Mike Pompeo has grown even more brazen in misusing the State Department and the taxpayer dollars that fund it as vehicles for the (Trump) Administration's and his own political ambitions."

This investigation, Gaouette and Atwood note, is not the first time Pompeo has "clashed with Engel and the House committees over issues of accountability."

"Congressional Democrats are looking into Pompeo's push to have President Donald Trump fire the State Department inspector general, Steve Linick, who had been looking into five matters of potential wrongdoing at the State Department at the time — including Pompeo's possible misuse of taxpayer resources," the CNN reporters observe. "Pompeo has repeatedly denied that Linick's ouster was retaliatory."

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