The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, citing his refusal to comply with a subpoena for records into his “transparently political misuse” of department resources.
The Democratic chairman of the committee, Eliot Engel, also cited a speech Pompeo recorded in Jerusalem for this week’s Republican National Convention and said he had “demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption.”
“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,” Engel said.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The committee last month issued a subpoena to Pompeo demanding documents he provided to Republicans investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
A Republican-led U.S. Senate committee has been gathering information related to Hunter Biden, son of the former U.S. vice president, Republican President Donald Trump’s opponent in the November election.
Engel said Pompeo had told the House committee the documents would be provided if it pursued the same investigation as the Republican-led Senate committee.
“In other words, Pompeo will give the committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the president’s political rival,” Engel said.
Hunter Biden is a former board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The company was thrust into the global spotlight last year in an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump improperly pressured the government in Kiev into opening a case involving his election rival.
In his speech shown to the RNC on Tuesday, Pompeo praised Trump’s foreign policy record. Critics said he broke with decades of protocol in using his appointed office for partisan purposes and Joaquin Castro, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said his move may have been illegal.