Fired Inspector General Was Investigating Whether Pompeo Was Making Staff Walk His Dog and Other Personal Errands
Steve Linick, the State Department Inspector General who was fired by President Donald Trump on Friday, was investigating accusations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was improperly making his own staffers run personal errands for Pompeo and his wife while they were on the clock, including making dinner reservations, picking up dry cleaning, and walking their dog.
Trump’s letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) giving notice of Linick’s firing said little other than that the minimum required language that the president “no longer has full confidence” in the appointee.
“As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as President, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” said the letter.
This isn’t the first time that Pompeo has been accused of using his taxpayer-funded staff to run personal errands for him or his wife. CNN reported last July that Democrats in Congress were investigating similar claims against Pompeo. One noteworthy accusation was that Pompeo sent his security detail to go pick up Chinese takeout and other food, without Pompeo in the car. Agents complained that they felt like “UberEats with guns,” according to a whistleblower.
MSNBC confirmed Sunday, based on reporting by Josh Lederman and Andrea Mitchell, that Linick had an active investigation into Pompeo’s alleged misuse of State Department staff at the time he was fired. This comes on the heels of a report that Pompeo himself recommended that Trump fire Linick.
An inspector general getting fired while he has an active investigation against a Cabinet member, and that coming after that same Cabinet member personally urged the president to fire him — it’s little wonder that Democrats smell blood in the water.
Pelosi tweeted that Trump’s “pattern of retaliation” against the inspectors general — Linick is one of four who have recently been fired by the president — “is disgraceful and may be unlawful.”
Inspectors General are at the core of the fight to stop waste, fraud & abuse in our government. The President’s pattern of retaliation against these committed public servants is disgraceful & may be unlawful. @FaceTheNation pic.twitter.com/Ei1gtoR4x5
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 17, 2020
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) called Linick’s firing “an obstruction of what would have been an investigation that we’d want to see.” Menendez also said that the current legal standard needed for a president to fire an inspector general should be reconsidered. “Just saying you’ve lost confidence should not be enough.”
The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, tells @MSNBC that he wants to look into changing the laws around inspectors general: "Just saying you've lost confidence shouldn't be enough" for removal.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 17, 2020
Secretary of State is categorized by federal law as a Level 1 position on the Executive Schedule, with a current salary of $210,700. A quick Google search for dog walkers in the Washington, D.C. area found numerous offerings ranging from $20-25 per walk or $10-25 per hour. The Democrats’ investigation from last July may have stalled, but Pompeo’s involvement in Linick’s firing may breathe new life into the scandal, making this a potentially huge price to pay to save twenty bucks.
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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