In a statement that took aim at congressional Democrats and some media outlets, the department on Thursday said a review of Susan Pompeo's travel had uncovered no wrongdoing, The department cited a report by the Office of the Inspector General, which it said had been sent to Congress but not yet publicly released.
Susan Pompeo had attracted criticism for accompanying her husband on diplomatic trips abroad, beginning with a Middle East tour in 2018 that took place during the federal government shutdown. Various reports said at the time that officials in Washington and embassies abroad had questioned whether her travel was warranted under the circumstances.
Secretary Pompeo has previously defended his wife's presence on his international trips by noting that she does work with diplomats'' families and is a “force multiplier” in boosting morale at overseas posts.
The State Department said the inspector general had cleared her of any impropriety or misuse of taxpayer money on that Mideast trip and seven others she made with her husband.
“After a nearly year-long investigation by the OIG interviewing dozens of employees and reviewing thousands of pages of documents, the report cleared the secretary, his family, and his entire team, finding: there was no violation of any law or statute; there was no violation of any regulation; and there was no violation of any provision of the Foreign Affairs Manual policy,” the department said.
It accused the inspector general''s office, along with Democrats in Congress and several media outlets of “wast(ing) so much energy on multiple fraudulent ''investigations'' into Secretary Pompeo and his family that have resulted in vindicating all of them.” The statement said it looked forward to corrections and apologies from news organisations that reported on concerns about Susan Pompeo's travel.
Previous secretaries of state had often brought their spouses along with them on official foreign travel, but since the late 1990s, it has been a rare because of family circumstances.
Neither Madeleine Albright nor Condoleezza Rice was married. Colin Powell''s wife, Alma, preferred not to travel; Hillary Clinton''s husband, Bill, a former president, presented security issues and never travelled with her; and John Kerry''s wife, Teresa Heinz, suffered a brain injury early in his term, which left her unable to travel.