Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform today released the following statement regarding the voluntary interviews of State Department officials Lisa Kenna and Toni Porter. The interviews were conducted as part of the Committees’ joint investigation into the May 2020 firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, as well as an investigation by the Committees into political retaliation at the State Department. The Committees also released the transcripts of the interviews with Ms. Kenna and Ms. Porter.
“Ms. Kenna and Ms. Porter provided helpful details about the OIG’s probe into the misuse of resources by the Pompeos and other matters apparently tied to Mr. Linick’s firing. Their testimony points to the involvement of two of Secretary Pompeo’s closest aides and confidantes in that matter, both before Mr. Linick was fired and after. They also shed light on frequent use of official funds to pay for entertainment and travel, the value of which to American foreign policy is highly questionable.
“We are grateful to Ms. Kenna and Ms. Porter for appearing voluntarily for interviews. Our efforts to get to the truth about the IG’s firing continue.”
Both witnesses testified about the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) probe into the potential misuse of official resources by Secretary and Mrs. Pompeo and about the awareness and involvement of top Pompeo aides in that matter before and after Mr. Linick was removed. In particular, Ms. Kenna stated that she discussed the OIG probe with Secretary Pompeo’s longtime friends and former business partners, Under Secretary for Management Brian Bulatao and State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl prior to Mr. Linick’s firing. Ms. Porter testified that, after Mr. Linick’s removal and replacement by one of Mr. Bulatao’s subordinates, Mr. Bulatao told Ms. Porter there was “no reason to hurry” to respond to the OIG’s request to interview her, and Mr. Brechbuhl indicated that the probe might “resolve itself.”
Ms. Kenna and Ms. Porter also provided details on the role that Mrs. Susan Pompeo plays at the Department of State, including her travel using official resources and her involvement in the so-called Madison Dinners, which are also paid for using official funds. Ms. Kenna confirmed that Mr. Bulatao ultimately determines when it is in the U.S. national interest to spend taxpayer dollars to pay for Mrs. Pompeo’s travel.
Additionally, Ms. Kenna discussed the Secretary’s central involvement in the “emergency” declaration used to sideline Congress and push through more than $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries last year, a matter that the OIG was reviewing when Mr. Linick was fired. Secretary Pompeo refused to sit for an interview in that probe.
# # #