Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen in this October 2020 photo. Photo: AP file
politics

Pompeo got $5,800 whisky gift from Japan, but where is it?

43 Comments
By MATTHEW LEE

The State Department said Wednesday it's looking into the apparent disappearance of a nearly $6,000 bottle of whisky given more than two years ago to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by the government of Japan. Pompeo knows nothing about the gift or an inquiry, a representative said.

In a notice filed in the Federal Register, the department said it could find no trace of the bottle's whereabouts and that there is an "ongoing inquiry" into what happened to the booze. The department reported the investigation in its annual accounting of gifts given to senior U.S. officials by foreign governments and leaders.

The department's Office of Protocol is required to record gifts given to U.S. officials and keep track of their disposition. Recipients have the option of turning gifts of a certain value over to the National Archives or another government entity or purchasing them for personal use by reimbursing the Treasury Department for their value.

The Japanese whisky was valued at $5,800 and was presented to Pompeo in June 2019, presumably when he visited the country that month for a Group of 20 summit that was also attended by President Donald Trump. But unlike other gifts, the department said there was no record of what had become of the bottle.

"The department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry," it said in the Federal Register notice. The notice offered no additional detail. A representative for Pompeo said Pompeo "has no knowledge of the gift and has not been contacted by anyone regarding an investigation of it."

Pompeo also reported receiving two carpets worth a total of $19,400 from the president of Kazakhstan and the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates. Both floor coverings were transferred to the General Services Administration, the notice said.

The filing said Trump and his wife, Melania, received more than $120,000 worth of presents from foreign leaders in 2019, compared with $88,200 the year before. In Trump's first year in office, in 2017, they reported receiving more than $140,000 in gifts.

There was no significant common theme to the 2019 gifts. At least three foreign leaders - from Australia, Egypt and Vietnam - presented Trump with photographs or portraits of himself that collectively were valued at more than $10,000.

Trump received a painting of himself on "dual pane glass" from then-Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong that was worth an estimated $5,250, according to the filing. It also says Trump got a "large double frame carved from black stone with image of President Donald J. Trump in precious metal on one side and the coat of arms of Egypt on the reverse" worth $4,450 from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave Trump a framed photo of himself and his wife worth $470.

Other more expensive gifts Trump received included an Ottoman Empire rifle valued at $8,500 from the prime minister of Bulgaria, a bronze sculpture of an Arabian horse from the crown prince of Bahrain worth $7,200 and a gold, onyx, emerald and diamond statue of an Arabian oryx worth $6,300 from the emir of Qatar.

All of those gifts, including the portraits and photograph, were turned over to the National Archives, according to the report.

Another significant recipient of gifts was now-retired Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command until March 2019; that command oversees American military operations in the Middle East. The government of Qatar lavished Votel with nearly $37,000 in luxury watches in 2019, including one Rolex timepiece valued at $14,995, according to the report. Votel turned those watches over to the GSA.

© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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Is wisky. Is probably already in his stomach a long time ago.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

What goes in must come out, and away goes trouble down the drain.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That the American drunk , that pushing this bogus Wuhan Lab Leak

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

If any allegation is worthy of the excuse 'I was drunk and have no recollection', it's this one.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Necessary gifts to maintain good relations.

Just make sure he actually gets it in person instead of using 3rd party shipping company which they kept it for themselves.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

That bottle went of course around already on the back flight. No need for bureaucratic procedures to hand it over to national archives or even much more hurting, buying the own present back from the treasury for the full price of $5,800. Btw a rather strange ruling, to fully pay for an own present, in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be sufficient to pay only something like the import tax , VAT or customs, like all citizens had to, if they bring in something? It was personally given to him, not the exhibition at the archives, right?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Our gut feelings tell us where the ridiculously priced bottle ended up, but Pompeo has a lot more to answer for if MG's DOJ is going to do their duty.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The State Department said Wednesday it's looking into the apparent disappearance of a nearly $6,000 bottle of whisky given more than two years ago to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 

Sad that this is news! More like the Onion.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Hiro (Today  08:03 am JST),

Is probably already in his stomach a long time ago.*

Food and drink don't remain in the stomach that long. So it must have gone through sewage disposal and into the sea.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Jesus, did this guy learn nothing as a teenager? If you want to smooch booze from the liquor cabinet without getting caught you don't just take the whole bottle! D-uh!

You basically got two options here.

One: you drain like half the contents slowly over time and replace what you take with water so the bottle still looks full and hopefully nobody notices. This is good if you don't got ID and can't get real stuff to replace it, but you gotta be careful not to overdue it since the more watered down it is the more obvious it is.

Two: you drain the whole thing and then buy some cheap stuff at the local liquor store and fill the original bottle up with that. Pompeo's got valid ID so he should have been able to do that, no probs.

Seriously, they don't teach this stuff at Secretary of State school?

9 ( +13 / -4 )

There’s that annoying Know it All Sound again

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They (?) will have to pump it out of Pompeo, otherwise it'll show once again that someone IS above the law , and that some folk are more equal than others.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Whisky, the aqua vitae, disappears easily but the bottles don't. So, will they be able to trace back the flow of it somehow?

Incidentally, former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe gifted gold golf bats to President-elect Donald Trump when Abe went out of his way to meet Trump at the Trump Tower.

What happened to those gold golf bats?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Send Pompeo the bill for $5800. He was in charge and he is responsible. For all we know, it was given, opened, shared, and never made it to the embassy or plane.

When I worked for the Govt, rejecting gifts from vendors was required, unless it was nominal value - under US$20.

Japan has this culture of giving gifts to business partners which is fun and interesting, provided you are aware of that part of the culture. Lots of other cultures do the same, so refusal of the gift really isn't allowed to avoid a foreign relations incident.

"I have no clear memory of that event", won't work this time.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As Mark Twaisaid, “Whiskey is for drinking—water is for fighting.” As a Californian - sheesh, do I know that.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Classic situation alcoholics always seem to find themselves in.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Where do you think it went? This guy isn't known for dieting.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I thought he was teetotal

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Trumps was not the President of the United States as yet when Abe gave Trump gold golf bats at the Trump Tower. Trump, on his part, gave a red Trump cap to Abe in return. Can a Prime Minister make a gift of such a gorgeous item to a private citizen with money from the nation's coffers?

Probably, this gift exchange is a matter relevant only to Japan. Why didn't it become a Dietary subject matter in Japan at the time? I wonder.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

voiceofokinawa:

What? Abe gave away gold, and he got a cheap made-in-China hat in return??!!!! That just about sums up US-Japan relations.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Golf bats?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pompeo got $5,800 whisky gift from Japan, but where is it?

Come on, we all know where it went as soon as he got back....Mar-A-Lago...

And since Trump doesn't drink, it then went as a gift to his BFF in Moscow...

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The flight home was long and boring. Moreover it was together with Trump, anything making the time more endurable was welcome.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Jesus, did this guy learn nothing as a teenager? If you want to smooch booze from the liquor cabinet without getting caught you don't just take the whole bottle! D-uh!

Hey! Japan makes some tasty whisky, I would have probably emptied the bottle out myself if I were him.

The flight home was long and boring. Moreover it was together with Trump, anything making the time more endurable was welcome.

Since him and Trump are such great close friends, probably.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How Funny, IT WAS STOLEN, guys.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Recipients have the option of turning gifts of a certain value over to the National Archives or another government entity or purchasing them for personal use by reimbursing the Treasury Department for their value.

The National Archive flea market must have had Whiskey Wednesday.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Maybe, he drank it, got drunk and forgot.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Edible items like whisky usually become urine…

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Who valued this at 5800$. Not buying this at all....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The bottle went into the recycling bin; the whiskey was processed then flushed.

As for the hefty price tag, a waste. Booze hounds appreciate generic well drinks more than high priced brands that are not affordable to the mass consumer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Glenmorangie "Pride" 1978 Single Malt Scotch Whisky is $5800. @Danieisan there are those like me that appreciate a fine blend. Not all people that drink do it to get drunk. Anyhow, someone in the republican party needs to write a check for $5800 to the US treasury to pay for the gift. Then it will no longer be a problem. I think it just got overlooked for some reason.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

quercetum (Aug. 5 05:23 pm JST),

Golf bats?

No, it later turned out to be upscale golf drivers, BERES S-50, made by Honma Golf.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Would someone from the Trump administration do something that was not in accordance with the law?????

I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If Rudy was anywhere near it, then we have our suspect.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Btw a rather strange ruling, to fully pay for an own present, in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be sufficient to pay only something like the import tax , VAT or customs, like all citizens had to, if they bring in something? It was personally given to him, not the exhibition at the archives, right?

Federal employees are not permitted to receive gifts from entities they are dealing with professionally. A Federal employee cannot even let an outside party they are dealing with buy them lunch. When I was in the Navy sometimes we'd be a contractors facility and they wanted to host lunch. No way. We had to pay for our lunch so there was not even a hint that the contractor was buying our favor. Same thing for political appointees.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'll bet that bottle of whiskey is still floating around in some storage room somewhere. If every gift an elected or appointed leader has to be turned in you can imagine there are storage rooms, maybe a whole warehouse full of such gifts given over the decades. Someone set it somewhere and promptly forgot about it. I do this every day with my glasses, lol. Ten years from now it will turn up unexpectedly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Trump & Pompeo probably drank it all on the day of the insurrection.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Outdated practice as they're not allowed to accept gifts. Same has occurred in the corporate world. Of course you have no choice but to accept the gift and do the typical reciprocal gift motions. They should just do away with this dumb practice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Probably went into the donald defense fund, they’re going to need a lot of money to stay out of prison in the next few years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trump & Pompeo probably drank it all on the day of the insurrection.

By all accounts Donald Trump is a tee-totaler. Doesn't drink any alcohol.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@theFu and @Tortoise, the US rule for gifts from foreign government officials is different than the rule for gifts from contractors and non-government officials. In my dealings with agencies wishing to gift US officials, it turns out that US government officials can accept (for their personal use) gifts valued up to $415 now (and $390 at the time of the gifts this story is describing), while gifts to US government officials from contractors and ordinary citizens (such as businessmen, Lions Club or Rotary Club members, IOC members) are limited to $20 on a single occasion. [I am not making this up. The source is Title 5, US Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2635.] In addition, US government officials can accept gifts of "meals, refreshment and entertainment" when in an overseas area at a value comparable to the daily per diem limit in the area. So I advise individuals from private (non-government) universities, think tanks, and trade groups to make sure their gifts are edible or drinkable (or sports/concert tickets) to be able to exceed the $20 limit while here in Japan.

Of course, these higher numbers do not account for $6000 bottle of whiskey, but I wanted to clear up the idea that US Government officials can actually accept certain gifts for their personal use without having to turn the items over to the US General Services Administration. Why in the world anyone would offer a gift to an official that he can't keep, especially if you are trying to influence him or gain his favor? How stupid! The trick is to give him a gift value immediately below the relevant limit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In addition, there are special statutes that allow for gifts to the President and Vice-President, both of whom get so many things that most just wind up in the Presidential museum (like the pair of Big Baller basketball shoes that Mr. Ball sent to Mr. Trump in 2017. Well, I don't know whether Mr. Trump will really want those there, but they could be.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone taste it and said it taste like just exactly Wisky. However, he forgot to refill with Oolongcha and put it back because he was drank and went to sleep.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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