Speed Reads

Emoluments

Mike Pompeo says he doesn't know what happened to the missing $5,800 bottle of whiskey gifted by Japan

U.S. government officials are generally banned from receiving gifts from foreign governments under the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, and any large or costly gift becomes the property of the U.S. government. The State Department said Thursday that it has "an ongoing inquiry" into a missing bottle of whiskey the government of Japan gave then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in June 2019. The bottle of whiskey, valued at $5,800, is marked "disposition unknown" in an annual report on foreign gifts in the Federal Register, The Wall Street Journal reports

Pompeo, through his lawyer, suggested he didn't drink it — or, if you want to misread the statement another way, he drank too much of it. Pompeo has "no recollection of receiving the bottle of whiskey and does not have any knowledge of what happened to it," said his lawyer, William Burck.

Pompeo faced criticism as secretary of state for hosting regular lavish taxpayer-funded parties and allegedly making government employees run personal errands for him and his wife. But other official foreign gifts to Pompeo, including a silver falcon statue from Saudi Arabia, "are marked as being transferred to the State Department's National Museum of American Diplomacy or elsewhere in the government," the Journal reports.