Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is under fire for hosting a series of elaborate and unpublicized dinners featuring a host of top political and media figures -- events that department insiders said were really meant to boost Pompeo's own donor base for an eventual political run.
As NBC News reported, the regular gatherings were known as "Madison Dinners," with at least two dozen taking place since Pompeo moved into his position in 2018. A master invite list was made up of close to 30 percent of invitees from the corporate world, another 30 percent from politics or government, roughly 25 percent from media or entertainment industries, including heavy representation from conservative media, and close to 15 percent were diplomats or foreign officials.
As the report noted, the contact list appeared to be heavy with GOP insiders, as every member of the House or Senate who was invited is a Republican.
The events were not disclosed on Pompeo's public schedule, leading critics to accuse the secretary of state of using them for his own political gain rather than furthering the country's diplomatic interests.
The NBC News report noted that officials within the State Department had raised concerns that "the events were essentially using federal resources to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo's political ambitions — complete with extensive contact information that gets sent back to Susan Pompeo's personal email address" rather than a State Department registry, where they would be used for diplomatic purposes.
Pompeo is already under scrutiny after Donald Trump's decision to fire State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, who was reportedly investigating Pompeo for a number of potential abuses of office when he was fired.
As The Inquisitr reported, Linick was looking into whether Pompeo improperly pressed through a Saudi arms deal despite objections from Congress.Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a statement after Linick's firing saying that he had requested the investigation.
"His office was investigating — at my request — Trump's phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia," Engel said in a statement published by NBC News.
"We don't have the full picture yet, but it's troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed."Linick was reportedly carrying out a separate investigation looking into allegations that Pompeo used the department's staff to carry out personal tasks for him, including walking his dog and making dinner reservations.