CIA Director Mike Pompeo faces the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, the first test of his nomination to be secretary of state, and with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a "no" vote and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) out for cancer treatment, he is going to need Democratic support. In prepared remarks, Pompeo, a Republican former congressman from Kansas, emphasizes his plans to restore morale to and fully staff the State Department, touts his close relationship with President Trump, denies that he is overly hawkish, and says he plans to fix the Iran nuclear deal, which he has previous backed scrapping entirely.
Pompeo's confirmation hearing was already going to be tough, but on Wednesday evening, McClatchy DC reported that Pompeo did not disclose his ties to a Chinese state petroleum company in his background form to head the CIA. Juan Pachon, a spokesman for Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told McClatchy that committee staff are aware that Pompeo had ties to Sinopec, an oil and gas giant whose majority owner is state-owned China Petrochemical Corporation. "We expect Director Pompeo to be able to explain exactly what financial entanglement he had with the Chinese government and why he failed to disclose it," Pachon said.
Pompeo was president of oilfield equipment maker Sentry International from 2006 until his election to the House in 2010, and in 2006, he registered SJ Petro Pump Investment LLC, McClatchy reports. SJ Petro, or SJ Petroleum Machinery Co., is a subsidiary of Sinopec, which agreed to help develop a $43 billion natural gas project in Alaska last November and is currently lobbying the U.S. government. Pompeo's "former business partners (Sinopec) are spending more than $30,000 a month lobbying the Trump administration," said Harrell Kirstein at American Bridge 21st Century, which opposes Pompeo's nomination, "and probably drooling over the idea of installing their pal as secretary of state." Read more at McClatchy DC.