Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Psaki: Sexism contributes to some criticism of Harris MORE has spent more than $40,000 of taxpayer money hosting state dinners, according to a government watchdog group that released documents on Monday on the costs.
The documents released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) showed Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo hosted around two dozen Madison Dinners between 2018 and 2020, inviting about 12 guests each time.
CREW noted that Inspector General Steve Linick was fired by President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE around the time he was investigating Pompeo for alleged misconduct. Linick had reportedly looked into one of the offices in charge of arranging the Madison Dinners.
Pompeo has said he did nothing wrong and that his actions were similar to past secretaries of State.
The New York Times notes in its report on CREW's documents said it had received a statement from the State Department defending the dinners.
“Foreign policy-focused social gatherings like these are in the finest tradition of diplomatic and American hospitality and grace, and the secretary has benefited greatly from these gatherings as he has gained insight listening to his guests from all across the political spectrum and all around the world,” the statement reported by the Times said.
CREW called into question the cost and necessity of the dinners.
“The dinners’ connection to the mission of the State Department is highly questionable, as only 14 percent of invitees reportedly have been diplomats or foreign officials,” it said in a statement. “The vast majority have been from the private sector with no connection to the State Department’s foreign policy mission, such as Republican donors and conservative media figures."
Pompeo is seen as having presidential aspirations of his own, though that would be complicated if President Trump decides to run for the White House in 2024.