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US elections: Pompeo being probed after Democrats say he violated law to help Trump

Published: Updated:

Members of Congress announced Monday that a probe had been launched to determine a possible breach of the law by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a speech he gave to the Republican National Convention in August.

Pompeo spoke in a pre-recorded speech taped from Israel while he was in the region on officials visits to Tel Aviv and Sudan.

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The top US diplomat faced backlash for what critics and Democrats said was using his public position for personal, partisan interests.

Pompeo has said he was speaking as a US citizen rather than in his official capacity as Secretary of State.

“Our offices have confirmed that the Office of Special Counsel has launched a probe into potential Hatch Act violations tied to Secretary Pompeo’s speech to the Republican National Convention,” a joint statement from Congressmembers Elliot Engel and Nita Lowey said.

The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 and limited federal employees’ political activities to ensure that “federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion.”

“This information comes on the heels of reporting that OSC is also looking into Secretary Pompeo’s stated commitment to rush out more of Hillary Clinton’s emails by Election Day and as the Secretary has misused State Department resources on his speech tour of swing states,” the statement added.

Pompeo has been pressed by US President Donald Trump to release classified emails that would show Clinton’s illegal use of classified information while Secretary of State.

“As we get closer to both this year’s election and his own inevitable return to electoral politics, Mike Pompeo has grown even more brazen in misusing the State Department and the taxpayer dollars that fund it as vehicles for the Administration’s, and his own, political ambitions,” Engel and Lowey said.

The two Democratic lawmakers said the “truth about this administration’s corruption will come out.”

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