The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, citing his refusal to comply with a subpoena for records into his "transparently political misuse" of department resources.
The Democratic chairman of the committee, Eliot Engel, also cited Pompeo's speech from Jerusalem before the Republican National Convention and said "he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption."
The committee last month issued a subpoena to Pompeo demanding documents he provided to Republicans investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“The House Foreign Affairs Committee is seeking documents which the State Department has already produced to Senate Democrats,” a State Department spokesperson said. “We have previously offered to provide copies of these documents to Chairman Engel, with the only condition being that he send a letter explaining what foreign policy issue he is investigating that requires these documents. Once this letter is received, the Department will produce the documents. This press release is political theatrics and is an unfortunate waste of taxpayer resources.”
A Republican-led U.S. Senate committee has been gathering information related to Hunter Biden, son of the former U.S. vice president, Republican President Donald Trump's opponent in the November election.
Hunter Biden was a former board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The company was thrust into the global spotlight last year in the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump improperly pressured the government in Kyiv into opening a case involving his election rival.
"I gave Mr. Pompeo ample opportunity to fulfill my request for documents, which I first made more than three months ago. These documents were already produced to the Senate, and his refusal to provide them to the Foreign Affairs Committee required that I issue a subpoena on July 31," Engel said in a statement.