Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s pending speech at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night will be investigated by a House committee, according to the chairman of the panel.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, wrote that he is now conducting an investigation into Pompeo’s prerecorded speech, raising concerns that it is a breach of State Department regulations and the Hatch Act.
Pompeo is facing criticism for taking time during diplomatic travel to deliver a speech at the convention.
The Hatch Act prohibits federal officials from taking part in political activity while they are on duty. But the State Department has said that Pompeo, a former representative from Kansas, is speaking at the convention in his personal capacity.
“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,” he alleged. “Congress has a responsibility to stand up for the rule of law and hold them accountable for this corrupt behavior.”
He said that it is “absolutely unacceptable” that a Secretary of State “would use official taxpayer-funded business to participate in a political party convention, particularly after the State Department published guidance that explicitly prohibits such activity.”
The State Department has not responded to a request for comment.
Castro went on to say that Pompeo’s remarks are “part of a pattern of politicization” of certain offices in the Trump administration.
Top Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and presidential nominee Joe Biden offered critical words for Pompeo’s anticipated speech. They and other Democrats said that his predecessors at the State Department eschewed speaking at the Democratic National Convention while they served.
Pelosi said in an interview on Tuesday that he violated the rules.
“The image is something that’s going to say, look at us, we’re here in Israel making a speech to the Republican National Convention, violating our values in terms of the bipartisanship and our support for Israel, violating in many ways what he told his own employees,” she remarked.
A spokesperson for the State Department told Fox News that “no State Department resources will be used….Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”
Pompeo is slated to appear in the prerecorded video that will be broadcast during the RNC. According to The Associated Press, it was recorded in Jerusalem, Israel.
“Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter after the RNC announced his appearance.