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Tipsheet

Pompeo Had to Remind Menendez that the OSC Concluded He Did Not Violate the Hatch Act

State Department Photo by Ronny Przysucha/Public Domain

Last October, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive branch officials from engaging in political activity. According to the senator, Sec. Pompeo took three trips he took to Kansas under the guise of promoting the White House's commitment to Americans, when really he was traveling in the interest of his political career, and hosted State Department dinners for guests with ties to Kansas. Rumors abounded that Sec. Pompeo was seeking a Senate run in his home state. So Sen. Menendez requested that the Office of Special Counsel conduct an investigation.

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It came to nothing. The OSC concluded there was no Hatch Act violation, and, per the office's policy, they sent their conclusions to both Sen. Menendez and Sec. Pompeo on January 21, 2020. But the Democrat claimed to never had received a response, even in recent interviews.

Since Sen. Menendez had apparently misplaced his copy, Sec. Pompeo just sent the senator a reminder.

"The OSC response to your hackery makes clear your continued effort to politicize legitimate and important diplomatic and national security activity was without merit," Sec. Pompeo writes in a letter. "The scurrilous allegations you put forward had the additional effect - one which you clearly intended when you publicized your letter to the OSC - of generating a continuing series of media articles and reports with rumors, innuendo and flat untruths about me and the U.S. Department of State."

Sec. Pompeo regretted that Sen. Menendez was choosing to address their opposing foreign policy views by pursuing "futile investigations."

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"I implore you and your staff to confront foreign policy issues of concern and interest to you and your constituents on an intellectual level and on the merits," Sec. Pompeo advised.

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