Rep. Eliot L. Engel announced contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his Republican National Convention speech from Jerusalem and for refusing the committee’s subpoena for records on Ukraine.
Engel, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, charged Pompeo with an “unprecedented” record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s oversight authority.
Pompeo addressed the Republican National Convention last Tuesday in a speech recorded from Jerusalem, where he was on official duty. Watchdog groups and Democratic leaders said the speech violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits administration officials from using their office for partisan political purposes.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, opened an investigation into the Jerusalem speech.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows dismissed concerns about such violations last Wednesday, telling Politico, “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”
Engel also said Pompeo defied subpoenas on American foreign policy toward Ukraine.
“From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption,” Engel said in a statement.
Added Engel: “He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.”