- Wikimedia Commons / Sam Armstrong
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
In a statement, Castro — the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee — said Pompeo used a taxpayer-funded trip to participate in a political party convention, a violation of State Department rules prohibiting such activity.
Pompeo recorded his speech, which aired Tuesday, while in Jerusalem on a State Department mission to the Middle East. The move is a breach of a longstanding precedent that the nation's top diplomat eschews partisan politics. Pompeo is the first sitting secretary of state to address a national political convention in at least 75 years, according to a New York Times analysis.
Critics, including former and present diplomats, also charge that Pompeo's address violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on the job.
“The Trump administration and Secretary Pompeo have shown a gross disregard not only of basic ethics, but also a blatant willingness to violate federal law for political gain," Castro said. "Congress has a responsibility to stand up for the rule of law and hold them accountable for this corrupt behavior.”
The address is part of the same "pattern of politicization of U.S foreign policy" by the Trump Administration that led to the U.S. House vote to impeach the president late last year, Castro added.
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