WASHINGTON — Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo broke federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked staffers to book restaurant reservations, take care of his dog, go on shopping trips and perform a wide array of other personal errands that did not pertain to official business, according to the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
The internal watchdog report, released Friday, concluded that the Pompeos made more than 100 requests that “appeared to be personal in nature” and violated regulations. The report did not recommend any punishment for Pompeo as he no longer works in the department. But it said the department should set up a new system for staffers to report such violations by government employees.
Pompeo, a close ally of former president Donald Trump, harbors future political ambitions and is often mentioned among other Republicans as a 2024 presidential contender.
Pompeo rejected the assertions in the report in a statement. “At no time did I, or my wife Susan, misuse taxpayer money or violate rules or ethical norms,” Pompeo said. “This latest IG report is yet another attempt to slander me and worse, my wife by our own government.”
The former top diplomat’s lawyer, William Burck, criticized the report, saying it revealed “bias” on the part of the authors.
Pompeo and his wife Susan, who often traveled with him on official State Department business, made requests to a political appointee and other staffers in his office to run errands such as “picking up personal items, planning events unrelated to the Department’s mission, and conducting such personal business as pet care and mailing personal Christmas cards,” said the report.
The Pompeos asked staffers to make “restaurant reservations for personal lunches and dinners with Pompeo family members or friends” at least 30 times, the report says. It also says a State Department employee was asked to book two hair salon appointments for Susan Pompeo; another employee appeared to help their son get a discount for a hotel, the report says.
The internal watchdog office, charged with investigating alleged corruption and wrongdoing, had a notably strained relationship with Pompeo ever since he orchestrated the firing of the office’s longtime leader, Steve Linick, last May, calling him a “bad actor” who was not a team player. Linick was succeeded by Stephen Akard, who served less than three months after coming under congressional scrutiny for alleged conflicts of interest and close ties to Vice President Pence. Matthew Klimow succeeded Akard who also left after roughly three months resulting in the promotion of another acting IG, Diana Shaw.
The State Department did not weigh in on the specific findings of the report, but said it accepts its recommendations.
“The department appreciates the work of the Office of Inspector General, and, as the report notes, concurs with all the recommendations and will proceed to implement them,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.