A nearly $6,000 bottle of whiskey given to Mike Pompeo from Japan is nowhere to be found

·2 min read
A whiskey bottle given to Mike Pompeo at the the State Department has gone missing (Getty Images)
A whiskey bottle given to Mike Pompeo at the the State Department has gone missing (Getty Images)

The State Department has launched an investigation into the whereabouts of a nearly $6,000 bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Mike Pompeo.

In a filing posted to the Federal Register, the department announced they did not know where the gift from Japan’s government was and said “it’s looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry”.

According to document, the former secretary of state was away on a government trip to Saudi Arabia when the whiskey, which was valued at $5,800, was dropped off at the State Department in June 2019.

Mr Pompeo’s lawyer said that he nor his client had any idea of the whereabouts of the whiskey.

“Pompeo has no idea what the disposition was of this bottle of whiskey,” William A Burck said.

It is unconstitutional to accept a gift from a foreign government of such a high value. The authors of the US Constitution felt expensive gifts could act as tools to get power and influence over the US government. Punishment for accepting gifts from a foreign power, like the whiskey bottle, can include articles of impeachment.

Under the rules, government officials are permitted to keep gifts that cost less than $390. All gifts over that value threshold automatically become property of the US government.

No more information was provided by the State Department, but two individuals briefed on the matter spoke to the New York Times. They told the paper that the whiskey was never bought from the US government and that the department’s inspector general was asked to help to figure out where it eventually ended up.

In April, the State Department’s inspector general released a report that said Mr Pompeo and his wife had broken the ethical code by asking employees of the department to carry out personal tasks for them, such as walk their dog.

“Like a lot of what occurred in the Trump era, this arises from a mix of rules and regulations that were previously obscure and rarely invoked,” Steven M Brand, a lawyer who used to work for the House of Representatives, told the Times. “I have been doing ethics stuff for 40 years and this has never been on the top of the list or on the list of problems.”

It is unsure what kind of whiskey was given to Mr Pompeo. In recent years, Japan has made a name for itself as a country with a well respected whiskey industry that mirrors the taste of Irish and Scottish offerings.

The Independent reached out to Mr Pompeo for comment.