The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Commitee announced Friday that it would start proceedings to hold U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, in contempt.
The Democrat-controlled committee said the contempt resolution is in response to his "ongoing refusal to comply" with a subpoena related to its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, as well as a litany of other alleged offenses.
Committee chair Elliott Engel, D-N.Y., said in a statement that Pompeo’s behavior has "demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct."
"He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit," Engel said.
That includes Pompeo’s speech at the Republican National Convention praising Trump’s foreign policy agenda, which has come under fire for being recorded in Jerusalem while Pompeo was on official diplomatic business in the country.
The Trump administration has insisted the address was in Pompeo’s "personal capacity" and that no taxpayer-funded resources were used.
But that didn’t stop a Foreign Affairs subcomittee, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, from launching an investigation into the matter, with Castro saying the affair "may be illegal."
Before joining the Trump adminstration, Pompeo served three terms in the U.S. House representing Kansas’ 4th Congressional District. He then was tapped by Trump to head the CIA in 2017 before moving to the role of secretary of state a year later.
Engel also aired frustration over the State Department’s decision not to make available to his committee documents provided to a U.S. Senate investigation of Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.
That probe centers on the work Biden’s son Hunter did for a Ukrainian gas company during his father’s tenure as vice president.
Democrats have called the effort politically motivated and tied to Russian propaganda seeking to undermine Biden’s presidential campaign.
"I want no part of it. Under no circumstances will I amplify (Russia President Vladimir) Putin’s debunked conspiracy theories or lend them credence," Engel said in the statement.
A State Department staffer wrote Thursday in a letter to Engel that the department "categorically rejects (Engel’s) baseless assertions that the Department may have acted inappropriately" by not providing the documents to the House panel.
A State Department spokesperson said in an email that the release "is political theatrics and is an unfortunate waste of taxpayer resources."