Remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were slated to be broadcast as part of the second night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Tuesday in what the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) described as “a break from all sorts of norms and precedents designed to keep America’s chief diplomat out of the partisan fray.” Ordinarily, federal officials in positions like Pompeo’s don’t participate in brazenly political proceedings like the RNC — the Hatch Act, after all, “generally prohibits Federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty,” as an internal Interior Department memo put it. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who’s the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, is now investigating the matter.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to share a message with the Republican National Convention this week is a break from all sorts of norms and precedents designed to keep America’s chief diplomat out of the partisan fray.https://t.co/oA2nGEIonp
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) August 25, 2020
Pompeo seems to have recorded his speech for the RNC while in Jerusalem on official business, clearly intermingling his official duties with the brazenly political aims of the GOP. Allegedly, State Department resources were not used for the recording of Pompeo’s remarks, but Castro wants more concrete answers. In a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, he demanded information, in writing, by September 1 about what department resources were or weren’t used for the development of the speech. Castro also demanded potentially related supporting documents by September 10.
In his letter, Castro said:
‘It’s absolutely unacceptable that a sitting U.S. Secretary of State, America’s top diplomat, would use official taxpayer-funded business to participate in a political party convention, particularly after the State Department published guidance that explicitly prohibits such activity. This action is part of a pattern of politicization of U.S foreign policy, for which President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, that undermines America’s standing in the world. The American people deserve a full investigation.’
So far, it’s worth noting — the RNC has been full of lies. During the first night, speakers claimed that Democrats as a whole want to lead a government takeover of health care, want to “abolish” the suburbs, and more, which is all nonsense. CNN characterized the proceedings as “a parade of dishonesty.”