State Dep. Investigating Missing $5,800 Bottle of Japanese Whiskey Gifted to Mike Pompeo
The U.S. State Department is currently looking into the whereabouts of a $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey gifted to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by the government of Japan in June 2019.
In a notice posted to the Federal Register, the whereabouts of the whiskey are listed as "pending," though it remains unclear if Pompeo himself ever took possession of the gift. As the New York Times reports, Pompeo, now 57, was in Saudi Arabia the day the gift is said to have been given to him, though the outlet notes he traveled to Japan a week later.
The State Department filing says the department "is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry" into the whiskey's location.
In a statement sent to NBC News, Pompeo's attorney, William A. Burck, said the former secretary of state doesn't know where the whiskey ended up.
"Pompeo has no idea what the disposition was of this bottle of whiskey," Burck told the outlet.
In another statement to Forbes, Burck elaborated, saying: "Mr. Pompeo has no recollection of receiving the bottle of whiskey and does not have any knowledge of what happened to it. He is also unaware of any inquiry into its whereabouts."
A separate bottle of whiskey — valued at $8,374 and gifted to former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger by the government of Japan in May 2019 — is also listed as "pending" disposition on the Federal Register.
The State Department is required to record any gifts worth more than approximately $400 given to U.S. officials and keep track of their whereabouts, with officials having the option of turning the gifts over to the government (for use by the National Archives, for instance) or purchasing them for personal use.
Former President Donald Trump, for instance, turned over many of the gifts he received to the National Archives, including a cashmere blanket from the president of Mongolia and a framed photograph of he and his wife, Melania, a gift from the Australian prime minister.
Earlier this year, the State Department's Office of Inspector General found that Pompeo — who is rumored to be mulling a 2024 run for president — and his wife Susan Pompeo violated federal ethics rules by asking staff to carry out personal errands.
A report said that the independent watchdog "found that both Secretary and Mrs. Pompeo requested that the political appointee and other employees in the Office of the Secretary undertake work of a personal nature, such as picking up personal items, planning events unrelated to the Department's mission, and conducting such personal business as pet care and mailing personal Christmas cards."