Press Releases

Investigation of Mike Pompeo’s apparent Hatch Act Violation

The New York City Bar Association has written a letter to the Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of State asking for a formal investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “recent speech from Jerusalem as part of the Republican National Convention and its apparent violation not only of State Department policy against political activity by Department officials but also of the Hatch Act, which makes such political participation by government officials a crime.”

In addition to flouting federal law and State Department guidance, Secretary Pompeo’s actions send “the unacceptable message that Mr. Pompeo views his primary loyalty to Mr. Trump rather than to the Constitution and laws of the United States and to the American people,” the letter says.

With Jerusalem as a backdrop, Secretary Pompeo used the speech to “highlight his praise of the President for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and to assert that the President had recently brokered a ‘historic’ peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

While a State Department spokesperson stated that Secretary Pompeo made his speech in only a personal capacity, and without the use of government resources, the letter alleges that “this answer is wholly inadequate…it is really not possible for the Secretary of State to speak only in an individual capacity when he appears in public in a foreign country on matters relating to U.S. policy or actions.” Furthermore, Mr. Pompeo—who was in Israel on government business—“was presumably supported, transported and protected around the clock by government officials.” And, as the letter states, “[t]he more fundamental problem is Mr. Pompeo’s use of his position as Secretary of State, on official U.S. government business, to urge the President’s re-election and to use his presence in Jerusalem to emphasize the President’s supposed accomplishments to important constituents of the Republican party.”

According to the letter, anything less than a full investigation “risks irreparable damage to the non-partisan professionalism that has been the hallmark of the Department of State for many years…Mr. Pompeo’s aberrational conduct simply cannot be permitted to set a new and lower standard – both for our own citizens and for the world – for compliance with law by our most senior cabinet officer.”

The letter can be read here: