International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Monday, April 19, 2021

Investigation & Report on Allegations of Misuse of Department of State Resources By Secretary of State

OIG reviewed allegations that former U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo directed Department of State (Department) employees to carry out tasks of a personal nature to benefit him and Mrs. Pompeo. The allegations stated that the Secretary hired a political appointee to complete such tasks and assigned such work to other employees in the Office of the Secretary and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

OIG found that both Secretary and Mrs. Pompeo requested that the political appointee and other employees in the Office of the Secretary undertake work of a personal nature, 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. OIG  found that such requests were inconsistent with Department ethics rules and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. However, with only a few exceptions, OIG did not find that Secretary and Mrs. Pompeo made personal requests to the special agents in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security who were protecting them. These agents generally told OIG that the Pompeos did not ask them to undertake tasks of a personal nature.

OIG made three recommendations to the Department. OIG recommended that the Office of the Legal Adviser update its guidance to the Office of the Secretary to include guidance on the use of Department funds to pay for gifts to U.S. citizens and the use of Department employees to arrange personal dinners and entertainment. OIG recommended that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security amend its Protection Handbook to include examples of appropriate and inappropriate requests to agents performing protective functions, and direction concerning what to do when an agent is tasked with an inappropriate request and who to contact to address concerns. Finally, OIG recommended that the Under Secretary for
Management draft and publish guidance on the use of a subordinate’s time for tasks of a personal nature, including direction concerning what to do and who to contact when a Department employee is tasked with an inappropriate request. The Department concurred with all three recommendations.

Read the full 26 page investigation report here.

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