Pompeo reportedly privately met with big Republican donors at taxpayer expense while on official State Department trips

salarshani@businessinsider.com (Sarah Al-Arshani)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during a cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly held several political meetings while on official government trips, The New York Times reported. 
  • Pompeo met with a number of top Republican donors, and while he and his aides tried to keep them from his public schedule, several news outlets found out about them after the fact. 
  • The Secretary of State has been under a microscope after the firing of an inspector general who was allegedly investigating Pompeo for a number of things, including a Saudi arms deal. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly held several meetings with top Republican political donors, while on official government trips, The New York Times reported. 

Pompeo did not put any of the visits on his public schedule. While it's unclear exactly how many of these events Pompeo has held, however, a number of the incidents have been discovered by news outlets afterward. According to The Times, Pompeo and his aides avoided disclosing the meeting to reporters who travel with them. 

In January, he visited a Florida retirement enclave populated by prominent Republican donors at the end of a diplomatic trip to Latin America, the Tampa Bay Times reported.  

He also met with Charles G. Koch, the prominent billionaire and Republican donor, while on an official visit to Kansas last October, The Wall Street Journal reported. In December, CNN reported that while on a State Department trip to London, Pompeo quietly met with Republican donors for dinner in a hotel.

The Times reported that these meetings took place as Pompeo was "considering a run for the Senate from his adopted home state of Kansas and as he nurtures plans for a presidential bid in 2024."

According to The Times, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez called for a special counsel investigation to see if Pompeo's frequent trips to Kansas were legal. Federal employees, with the exception of the president and vice president are forbidden from using their positions to carry out partisan political activities under the Hatch Act. 

However, Pompeo has "not accepted any donations to his political action committee, and he has refunded about $3,000 in contributions since he joined the Trump administration, according to Federal Election Commission records," The Times reported. 

Lawmakers are looking into the circumstances surrounding the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, last week.

Linick, who Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Eliot Engel alleges was investigating Pompeo over an $8 billion Saudi arms deal, among other things, was reportedly fired by President Donald Trump at Pompeo's urging, according to reports.

Pompeo has called allegations that the firing was retaliatory "patently false."

The Times reported that American Oversight, a liberal legal watchdog group, demanded that details of Pompeo's domestic trips should be turned over by the State Department. 

"It's becoming increasingly clear that Secretary Pompeo is using the State Department to support his political career, and is using the position of secretary of state to collect a Rolodex of powerful people to support him for whatever venture he sees next," Austin Evers, the group's executive director, who worked at the State Department during the Obama administration told The Times. 

The Times added that some have defended Pompeo including Alan Cobb, the president and chief executive of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and a longtime friend of his. 

"What's he supposed to do — not reach out and have social interaction with business leaders because his name has been associated with the presidential race? It's part of the job," Cobb told the Times. "And the fact is, most wealthy business leaders are political donors — good luck finding one who is not."

Pompeo is also under scrutiny for hosting two dozen "Madison Dinners" on taxpayer expenses. He allegedly held "elaborate, unpublicized affairs" where Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo held regular dinners with Billionaire CEOs, Supreme Court justices, political heavyweights, and others. 

"Foreign policy-focused social gatherings precisely like these are in the finest tradition of diplomatic and American hospitality and grace," a spokeswoman for the State Department told NBC News about the dinners.

The State Department did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

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