Pompeo is the latest Cabinet official accused of misusing taxpayer funds


Multiple Trump administration officials have resigned in disgrace for abusing taxpayer dollars.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the latest Trump administration official caught up in an ethics scandal, following a report from NBC News that he used taxpayer dollars to host lavish dinners at the State Department for guests who had nothing to do with the department's mission.

Since taking the helm of the department in 2018, Pompeo has invited 500 guests to the dinners, with the vast majority being wealthy business leaders, Republican political figures, and conservative media personalities, according to NBC's report.

The news comes after Trump fired the State Department's internal watchdog at the behest of Pompeo. The department's inspector general was investigating Pompeo's use of government employees to run personal errands, and according to NBC's report, may have been looking into the elaborate dinner parties Pompeo was holding.

Pompeo's use of taxpayer dollars for what appears to be personal or political gain makes him the latest Trump administration official caught potentially misusing taxpayer dollars.

Multiple administration officials have resigned in disgrace over their improper use of taxpayer funds. Others have been accused of improper use of tax dollars but kept their jobs.

Here are the seven current and former Trump administration officials caught abusing taxpayer funds:

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

Price was forced to resign from the Trump administration after he was caught spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on private jets to take him to official events.

In one instance, Price spent $17,760 in taxpayer funds on a charter flight from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, even though a commercial option existed that cost as little as $200, according to Politico, which broke the story of Price's private jet travel.

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt

Pruitt resigned in disgrace in 2018 after being caught up in multiple ethics scandals.

Pruitt made excuses to be reimbursed for personal travel and spent millions on security, including a personal security detail and a $43,000 "secure phone booth" in his office. Pruitt also spent $150,000 on first-class airfare.

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin

Shulkin left the administration after an inspector general report said he spent taxpayer funds on European travel for his wife.

The report found Shulkin spent half his time on the $122,000 taxpayer-funded trip sightseeing rather than on official business.

"This was time that should have been spent conducting official V.A. business and not providing personal travel concierge services to Secretary Shulkin and his wife," the watchdog report said.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Zinke is yet another Cabinet official who resigned in disgrace after he faced multiple ethics investigations into his conduct.

Zinke sought workarounds to be able to let his wife travel with him on the taxpayer dime, including trying to make her a volunteer for the Interior Department, Politico reported in 2018.

Politico also reported that Zinke spent $25,000 in taxpayer funds on a security detail for him and his wife during a trip to Turkey in 2017.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson

Carson infamously came under fire when he spent $31,000 in taxpayer funds on a dining room set for his office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

Trump's current top trade adviser spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds on a lavish redesign of his office.

Included in that cost was a $3,500 antique desk, a plaque that cost $859, and $830 to "transport and install two paintings on loan from the Smithsonian," according to the New York Post.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin 

Mnuchin spent taxpayer dollars on private jet travel, including a private jet for him and his wife to view the solar eclipse in 2017.

Mnuchin — who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars — also wanted to use a taxpayer-funded government plane that cost $25,000 an hour for his European honeymoon. The request was denied.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.