A State Department aide testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in August that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's wife, Susan Pompeo, asked staff to help send the family's personal Christmas cards, making her request via her private email account, McClatchy and CNN report.
The email exchange was discovered during an investigation by the State Department Inspector General's Office into potential misuse of taxpayer money, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The aide, Toni Porter, testified as part of a probe launched by congressional Democrats into the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick in May; Mike Pompeo has admitted he asked Trump to oust Linick, but denies it was in retaliation for an investigation.
Transcripts released on Friday show Porter testified that she managed projects "of special interest" to Mike Pompeo, and "there are times that Mrs. Pompeo relays that work to me." When asked if she ever felt "uncomfortable" with any of the tasks, Porter said yes, during two occasions when she "assisted with personal Christmas cards." She said she felt uneasy because "I was at the State Department."
In June, Linick testified before lawmakers that his office was investigating five possible incidents of wrongdoing in the State Department, including the potential misuse of taxpayer money. In addition to looking into Linick's ouster, congressional Democrats are also investigating taxpayer-funded "Madison Dinners" held at the State Department. Critics say Pompeo is holding these dinners not to discuss foreign policy but rather to expand his network as he prepares for a possible Senate run in Kansas or other higher elected office.
Pompeo complained on Fox News Monday night that "they're picking on my wife, who has done yeoman's work as a volunteer to try to make life better for every officer at the State Department, I find pathetic and sad."