The State Department is now investigating what happened to a particular bottle of whiskey — valued at $5,800 — that Japanese officials provided as a gift for then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It’s unclear where the bottle went. Federal officials are not allowed to accept gifts valued at above $390, The New York Times explains, although officials are permitted to keep items that fall into this category if they pay for them. The whiskey was originally gifted in 2019, and an investigation into what happened to the bottle was noted in a new filing from the State Department in the Federal Register. That new filing stated, in regards to the bottle’s whereabouts, that the “department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry.”
BREAKING: The State Dept. is investigating the whereabouts of a missing $5,800 bottle of whiskey the Japanese government gave to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2019. It was against the law for him to accept gifts from foreigners worth more than $390. https://t.co/sujeCQJfDJ
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) August 4, 2021
Pompeo was not in Japan on June 24, 2019, when the department says — according to that same Federal Register filing — that the bottle was provided as a gift, so he may not have personally encountered the whiskey. Instead, the department accepted it on his behalf — and now, according to sources for the Times, the State Department has requested the inquiry into the matter from the inspector general overseeing departmental operations. William A. Burck, who is serving as a lawyer for the former secretary of state, said that Pompeo “has no idea what the disposition was of this bottle of whiskey.”
The Times notes that officials who violate the restrictions around gifts from foreign governments “can face civil penalties, or impeachment if they are still in office.” Throughout the Trump era, those in power routinely used government resources for their personal ends, no matter what may come of this bottle of whiskey. Notably, Pompeo has reportedly privately discussed the possibility of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, although whether or not Trump opts to run will no doubt be a deciding factor in the field. While in power, Pompeo stuck by Trump.