70th SecState Pitches Pilot For New TinFoil Hat Spin-Off

 

 

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SFRC Ranking Member Menendez Calls For OSC Hatch Act Review Into Pompeo’s Kansas Travel

 

 

On October 29, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), requesting a review to determine whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has violated the Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, which limits certain political activities of federal employees. According to OSC, the law’s purposes are “to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.”​​​​ ​​

I write to request an immediate review and assessment of the Secretary of State’s compliance with the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326.
[..]
Since March 2019, the Secretary has taken three official trips to Kansas, apparently at the expense of the Department of State. During the latest trip, from October 24 to 25, 2019, the Secretary visited the Wichita State University Tech National Center for Aviation Training, participated in a workforce development roundtable, visited Textron Aviation Longitude and Latitude Production, and met with students from Wichita State University.  

In an interview, he refused to discuss matters related to Ukraine, insisting he was “here today to talk about workforce development. I came here today to talk about the great things that are going on here in Kansas.” The events in Kansas were aimed largely at promoting the President’s “Pledge to American Workers,” which has no discernible relation to the Department of State. According to The Wall Street Journal, he also “discussed the U.S. Senate race in Kansas” with Charles Koch, the head of Koch Industries, and former top contributor to his political campaigns, as well as backer of Pompeo’s prior business.  Textron Inc., the parent company of Textron Aviation, was also a major contributor to then-Congressman Pompeo’s political campaigns. 

For months, public reports have persisted that the Secretary was considering running for U.S. Senate in Kansas.  Many in Kansas perceive his appearances in the state to be a de facto campaign effort.  Indeed, an October 25, 2019 Kansas City Star editorial titled “Mike Pompeo, either quit and run for U.S. Senate in Kansas or focus on your day job,” seems to indicate his actions are already being construed as evidence of a possible candidacy by members of the press and the public in Kansas.  And following his trip, the Department of State’s official twitter handle posted a workforce and Kansas-centric video montage of the Secretary’s visit, which appears to have no nexus to the Department’s official work.    

Secretary Pompeo is not any federal employee. Rather, he is one of the most prominent members of the President’s cabinet. He appears frequently on TV and for interviews, and, as is true for many Secretaries of State, is known and recognized by the American public. Thus, it is even more crucial that he and the Department maintain a clear line between his actions as a federal employee and steward of the U.S. government, and any efforts that could be perceived as political in nature or laying the groundwork for potential campaign activity. I therefore ask that you review his travel and his interactions in Kansas closely, and determine whether any violations have occurred or additional guidance to the Department or the Secretary may be warranted.

The full letter is available to read here.

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Pompeo: “I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.”

 

Secretary Pompeo returned to Kansas last week to deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He also did at least seven local interviews; all asked him about a potential senate run.  See his response below, particularly the part about what flattered him, and spending “every waking moment” … “to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the  people of Kansas.”
He said that he’s been “unambiguous” about the senate run but that he “continue to get asked.”
Especially as he kept going back to Kansas.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Steve, that’s why I always love coming on your show.  Look, I’m focused on my mission.  I’m serving America and working on President Trump’s team to deliver America’s foreign policy.  That’s what I’m focused on.  I do see the noise.  I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.  Susan and I love this place.  We miss our Shockers.  We miss our church there in Wichita and all our family and friends.  But I’m doing something that I consider an incredible privilege, an opportunity of a lifetime to lead the State Department, and I’m focused on doing that each and every day.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Oh, goodness.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing.  We just ripped through half a dozen topics.  There’s another 20 we could’ve gone through.  I spend every waking moment working to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the people of Kansas.  That’s my mission set; it’s what I’m focused onAs for what happens tomorrow, a week from now, or two years from now, goodness only knows.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Every day I am focused on my mission as the Secretary of State, America’s most senior diplomat.  It’s what I think about.  It’s what I’m focused on.  I kind of miss following Kansas politics as closely as it sounds like you are, but I have a very clear mission from President Trump and from the American people to deliver on his America First foreign policy, and me and the team that I have the privilege to lead here for a little bit are going to continue to do that.

Via:    SECRETARY POMPEO:  I have no Earthly idea.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing each and every day and so proud to represent the great people at the State Department every day.  I haven’t spent a heck of a lot of time thinking about my future.  I think there’s a lot of other people thinking about my future an awful lot more than Susan and I think about it.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah.  I’m very focused on what I’m doing.  You just heard me recount half a dozen opportunities for America around the world.  I get the privilege to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of State, and I’m focused on that every day and plan to continue that.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, Pete, I always want to come back to Kansas.  Susan and I love it here.  We miss it.  When I flew in last night, it certainly feels like home.  But I’ve seen the speculation. I’ve been unambiguous, but I continue to get asked.  I’m focused on what I’m doing every day.  I want to be the Secretary of State as long as President Trump wants me to continue to do this.  That’s my focus.  What comes next, goodness knows.  But every day my sole focus is ensuring that I’m doing my best to deliver American diplomacy, and leading my team to successfully protect American people all around the world.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’m still focused on what I’m doing, Lily.  I see the noise, I hear it, but my mission set every day is very clear.  I intend to stay in this current role just as long as President Trump says, “I want you to be my most senior diplomat.”  That’s the mission set. I came back to Kansas for this incredible privilege to give a lecture at K-State as part of the Landon Lecture Series where amazing people – presidents and all kinds of great leaders – have had the opportunity to come.  Mikhail Gorbachev – he had this opportunity to speak to K-Staters and people of this community.  And I’m really looking forward to it.

 

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Secretary Pompeo Gives a Speech in Indiana, Next Week He’ll Deliver a Lecture in Kansas #hesnotrunning

 

The Washington Examiner recently reported that Mike Pompeo has “closed the door on any speculation he might run for the open Senate seat in Kansas next year.”  “I am going to stay here,” he said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “There’s lots of people talking about it. The only one who’s not talking about it is me.”
The interview was conducted just a day after he attended an event with the Committee to Unleash American Prosperity, a group launched in 2015 with a stated goal of “persuading the presidential hopefuls in both parties to focus on the paramount challenge facing our country: slow growth and stagnant incomes.” (Also see Mike Pompeo’s Kansas Run: He’s Running, He’s Not …He’s Running, He’s … He’s …).
On August 27, Secretary Pompeo, delivered remarks at the 101st National Convention of The American Legion, this time in Indianapolis, Indiana and told attendees “we’re not going to apologize for America anymore”. Excerpt below:

Some of our leaders would say that the idea of America, or of “Americanism,” means inherent racism, or sexism.  Others say that Americanism is a code word for a narrow-minded nationalism.  Some even want us to reject the founding principles which have blessed us since 1776.  They want to substitute our founders’ words for something else.

They’d like us to shun those founding principles, principles that were bestowed on us by God and codified in our Constitution and properly taught in our schools’ civics courses.  They want us to reject the very ideas that are central to understanding our nation’s exceptionalism, and indeed its greatness.

That can’t happen, and I’m counting on you all to help me make sure that that never happens.  (Applause.)

And when it comes to Americanism in our foreign policy, for decades, frankly we just plain ignored it.  We didn’t lead.  We let the bureaucrats in international organizations lead us.  We let our allies shun their responsibilities.

We pretended our enemies were our friends, and sometimes sadly we even appeased them.

But those days are over.  No more.  The Trump administration – and you’ll hear it from the Vice President tomorrow – we’ve gotten back to the basics.  As I said when I was in Cairo now a few months back, we’re not going to apologize for America anymore.  (Applause.)  No, Americanism is something that we must be proud of.  We’re putting it at the center of our foreign policy.  Every one of my diplomats all across the world knows it, and is delivering it.

On Friday, September 6, 2019, he will also deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Sounds like a bunch of domestic stuff going on for somebody who’s not running for political office. Get ready, in any case; Foggy Bottom could get Mick Mulvaney as Acting SecState 🙂 We live in Netflix’s Stranger World.

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