Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s politicization of the Trump administration’s foreign policy has drawn its share of criticism over the past two years, but it’s his domestic meetings and travels that have attracted serious scrutiny in recent days. Now, American Oversight has uncovered new information about trips he took to his home state in 2017, when he was still CIA director.
The news that President Donald Trump intended to fire the State Department’s inspector general unleashed a torrent of concerning stories about Pompeo’s alleged misconduct, from improperly having an aide run personal errands for him and his family to lavish dinners with notable conservative media figures and politicians hosted by him and his wife, Susan Pompeo, on the taxpayers’ dime. His frequent trips to his home state of Kansas and official trips that include meetings with conservative donors — also paid for by the State Department — have fueled speculation that Pompeo is using his office to prepare for a run for office.
American Oversight has been investigating the secretary’s potential abuses of office, and has obtained records from the General Services Administration detailing the dates and costs of trips taken by multiple top Trump administration officials, including Pompeo. The documents include trips in early November 2017 to Wichita and Kansas City that had not been as widely reported as his multiple 2019 trips. According to the records, the use of government aircraft on those trips cost a total of $129,420.
The CIA’s request for the use of military aircraft on that trip also appears in Defense Department documents we obtained.
After becoming secretary of state, Pompeo’s multiple Kansas trips began to appear more and more like he was laying the groundwork for a future Senate — or even presidential — campaign. After Pompeo’s fourth visit to the state in 2019, in which he met with billionaire Charles Koch, Sen. Bob Menendez called for a special counsel investigation into whether the trips violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities in their official capacities.
Other trips that have raised eyebrows included an unscheduled meeting with conservative donors while in London for the December 2019 NATO summit, and a March 2019 trip to Iowa that CNN described as having “the hallmarks of a political event.” Just this past January, during a trip to Florida, Pompeo made a secretive stop at a Republican-heavy retirement community that is home to prominent donors.
The GSA records also include details about White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner’s June 2018 Middle East trip, multiple trips by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Miami, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s October 2018 trip to the Middle East. You can view the full set of GSA records here, and you can read more about our investigations into Pompeo’s political ambitions and alleged misconduct here.
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