State Department Probes Trump Administration Officials Who Took Gifts for Foreign Dignitaries, Says Value of the Gifts Are "Significant"
The State Department inspector general has launched an investigation on Trump administration officials to see whether they benefited from expensive Trump-branded gifts meant for foreign dignitaries.
The Office of the Inspector General is investigating former U.S. President Donald Trump's political appointees to identify whether they took home taxpayer-funded presents from the State Department gift vault in January, according to an NBC News report.
One department official with knowledge on the matter said that the dollar value of the missing gifts is "significant."
The missing gifts include a whiskey bottle worth $5,800 that was given to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by the Japanese. However, it then disappeared.
Pompeo said that he never received it, noting that "it never got to me."
Pompeo said that he has no idea how the State Department lost his thing, but that he saw huge incompetence at the department during his stint there.
Missing Gifts During Trump Administration
Among the missing gifts were three robes made of tiger and cheetah fur, as well as a dagger with a handle that seemed to be made of ivory, according to a Slate report.
The Trump administration officials also failed to report many of the gifts until the last minute. In addition, they also held on to them even though a White House lawyer was against it because they likely violated the Endangered Species Act. However, it was discovered that the furs were dyed and not real.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife were also included in the questions regarding the missing gifts.
Pence's wife, Karen, took two gold-tone place-card holders from Singapore's prime minister and did not pay for them.
A Pence family lawyer insisted that a White House ethics lawyer said that she could keep them because they were worth less than what was then the minimum threshold for reporting gifts.
However, officials disputed the characterization as she received numerous gifts during the meeting, allegedly exceeding the threshold.
Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, Jared Kushner, had also received two swords and a dagger from the Saudi Arabian royal family. However, Kushner had paid $47,920 for them with three other gifts in February after he left office, according to The New York Times report.
Meanwhile, there is no evidence whether Trump or former First Lady Melania Trump took any gifts to which they were not entitled.
The State Department had declined to comment on the specifics of how the Trump administration handled the gifts.
In a statement, the department said that it is taking seriously its role in reporting the disposition of gifts received by U.S. government employees.
They also noted that they are looking at the whereabouts of gifts that were unaccounted for, as well as the circumstances leading to their disappearance.
Congress passed a law in 1966 noting how a U.S. official could keep a gift of only relatively minimal value, which is now worth at $415.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
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