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Mrs. Pompeo asked State Dept. Staff to Help with Personal Christmas Cards

Both Mike and Susan Pompeo have been accused before of misusing State Department resources for personal gain.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks out of the West Wing.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Despite rules barring public employees from completing personal errands, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife Susan requested the help of top State Department staffers to finish personal Christmas cards during the holiday week, according to newly revealed emails obtained by McClatchy.

In a personal email to longtime aide and State Department employee Toni Porter written on Dec. 19, 2019, Susan Pompeo asked for help with the cards, according to McClatchy.

“I see that you are out of the office all next week. Do you know, is Joe also out? I’m wondering if we are sending the last of our personal cards out, who will be there to help me. Mike will not want to go outside you and Joe for this assistance.”

Porter, who is an adviser to Mike Pompeo, forwarded the email to another senior State Department official, who agreed to complete the cards but warned: “I’d worry about asking others for personal things.”

Porter reportedly felt “uncomfortable” about the holiday card request, according to testimony from the House committee’s probe.

As I previously reported for TAC, while the Democrats are investigating whether State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired for probing last year’s expedited $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, The American Conservative found

another, more direct reason for the IG’s abrupt firing: just days before Linick was removed, he sent a request for information about the “donor dinners” otherwise known as “Madison Dinners” that Pompeo has been hosting on the taxpayer dime for corporate and media big wigs.

Before coronavirus cancelled them, the “Madison Dinners” were elaborate, unpublicized State dinners that Pompeo and his wife Susan hosted in Diplomatic Reception Rooms beginning in 2018. A bevy of big wig political donors, corporate CEOs, and conservative news media celebrities were invited to the dinners funded by taxpayers…

The Christmas card errand is not the first unusual personal errand involving the Pompeo family that Democratic lawmakers on the House committee have been investigating. Last year, they began probing “a whistle-blower complaint that Mr. Pompeo, his wife and adult son were asking diplomatic security agents to run personal errands, including picking up Chinese food and the family dog from a groomer. The whistle-blower said agents had complained they were ‘UberEats with guns,’ according to CNN, which first reported on the accusations,” reports The New York Times.

While very few Trump administration officials have managed to secure a political appointee staffer, Susan Pompeo has one at the State Department, even though she is not employed by the State Department. Susan Pompeo also often accompanies her husband on long, taxpayer-funded trips overseas.

“In January 2019, she went with him on an eight-day journey across the Middle East—which raised questions among some officials because most State Department employees, including those supporting the trip, were working without pay during a partial government shutdown,” reports The New York Times. “Mrs. Pompeo has also flown with her husband on multi-night trips to Switzerland and Italy, which included a visit to the secretary’s ancestral home region of Abruzzo.”

Both President Trump and Pompeo have repeatedly denied that there was any wrongdoing involving the removal of the Inspector General. Pompeo has also said he was unaware that Linick was investigating alleged misuse of State Department funds by him and his wife. Pompeo said the idea that he fired Linick because the IG was about to investigate and uncover his own impropriety is a “nasty insinuation” aimed at “misleading” the American people.

In a statement to McClatchy, the State Department responded to the holiday card reports, “It is not a revelation that Mrs. Pompeo, like all the spouses of our dedicated diplomats, is a tremendous force multiplier for our diplomatic mission. We are beyond proud and honored to have Mrs. Pompeo, and all diplomatic spouses, give so much time, voluntarily, to ensure we here at State are One Team with One Mission. All her service is not only legal, but admirable.”

about the author

Barbara Boland is TAC’s foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.  Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

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