U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is at the helm of an investigation and the Office of Special Counsel will determine if he illegally used his position to bolster politics on behalf of President Donald Trump.
The investigation into Pompeo was sparked from a Fox News interview conducted in early October where he teased about the release of emails connected to former secretary and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton "before the election," per Politico.
"We've got the emails, we're getting them out. We're going to get all this information out so the American people can see it," Pompeo told Fox News's Dana Perino during the interview. "We're doing it as fast as we can. I certainly think there'll be more to see before the election."
During that interview, Pompeo responded to pressure and criticism from Trump who had also discussed the Clinton emails that same day when he said: "They're in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually. I'm not happy about him for that reason. He was unable to get them out. I don't know why. You're running the State Department, you get them out."
Pompeo insisted the release will come before the election, raising questions about whether or not he could be violating the Hatch Act, which "limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees who work in connection with federally funded programs," according to the Office of Special Counsel's website.
"The law's purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation."
In a letter dated Friday, October 16, the watchdog group American Oversight expressed concern about Pompeo's remarks with Election Day just two weeks away. According to the group, Pompeo's remark "warrants an investigation of whether Secretary Pompeo has given directives or orders to State employees in violation of the Hatch Act."
Now, Pompeo is denying any possibility that he would illegally politicize his office. When asked whether he would release Clinton-related emails so close to the upcoming election date, he said: "Releasing emails for the sake of transparency can't possibly be a violation of the Hatch Act. That's a ridiculous question."