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Washington, DC, July 23, 2019 — Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today filed a lawsuit to investigate whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been subject to inappropriate external influences during his tenure in the Trump administration.
Earlier this year, Secretary Pompeo was reported to be considering a run for a Senate seat in Kansas in the upcoming 2020 elections. Reports speculate that Pompeo may also be considering a campaign for governor of Kansas.
“America’s national security should be the Secretary of State’s number one priority. Every story about Mike Pompeo laying the groundwork for a Senate campaign in Kansas is a red flag that the country’s vital interests could be subordinated to selfish political ends,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “If Mike Pompeo is blurring the line between diplomacy and electioneering, the public has a right to know.”
The watchdog group is seeking documents from the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, where Pompeo previously served as director, to uncover potential political influences and external interests that may have had an impact on Secretary Pompeo’s official actions.
Today’s lawsuit follows several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests beginning in November 2018 that ask for the release of Pompeo’s records from his time as CIA director and Secretary of State. The requests ask for email communications between Pompeo and non-governmental email addresses, emails sent by Pompeo using a private email account to key staffers or to his own official account, and all records of communication between Pompeo and his staff and Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas and their respective staffs. Both the CIA and the Department of State have failed to provide final responses to the requests.
American Oversight expanded its investigation into personal email usage in the Trump administration in response to findings that Ivanka Trump made extensive use of a personal email account for official business in 2017 – a discovery that was prompted by an earlier lawsuit filed by the group. Last week, American Oversight sued the Department of Education to obtain emails sent by Secretary Betsy DeVos using a personal email account.
The full draft of the complaint can be found here: https://www.americanoversight.org/document/complaint-american-oversight-v-cia-and-dhs-pompeo-communications
American Oversight is a non-partisan, nonprofit ethics watchdog and is the top Freedom of Information Act litigator investigating the Trump administration. American Oversight has filed more than 100 public records lawsuits since March 2017, uncovering and publishing tens of thousands of documents including senior officials’ calendars, emails, and expense records. Through its Parallel Investigations Initiative, American Oversight uses targeted FOIA requests and litigation to prevent the Trump administration from obstructing congressional oversight. Follow us at @weareoversight and learn more at http://www.americanoversight.org.