CREW is suing the State Department for documents on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosting nearly two dozen taxpayer-funded extravagant private events known as “Madison Dinners,” using State Department resources.
The lavish dinners have reportedly involved elaborate cocktail hours, the hiring of professional musicians and photographers, and the purchase of commemorative gifts for attendees, all at taxpayers’ expense. The dinners’ connection to foreign affairs is also highly questionable, given only 14 percent of attendees have been diplomats or foreign officials. The remainder consisted primarily of public figures with no discernible connection to the State Department’s foreign-policy mission, such as celebrities, Republican donors, including past donors to Pompeo’s campaigns for office, and conservative media personalities. Finally, Pompeo’s wife, Susan Pompeo, has also reportedly played a key role in organizing the Madison Dinners, and communicated extensively with State Department employees about the official events using her private Gmail account, raising record keeping concerns.
CREW’s complaint follows the State Department’s failure to respond to our FOIA request in May for documents on the Madison Dinners, despite strong public interest. Pompeo’s misconduct was already under formal review by then-Inspector General Steve Linick who Trump removed, reportedly at Pompeo’s request. The State Department under Pompeo has been mired in ethical questions, and the public needs answers about whether their taxpayer dollars are being misused.