From NBC NEWS:
WASHINGTON — As federal workers file out of the State Department at the end of a Washington workday, an elite group is often just arriving in the marbled, flag-lined lobby: Billionaire CEOs, Supreme Court justices, political heavyweights and ambassadors arrive in evening attire as they’re escorted by private elevator to dinner with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Until the coronavirus shut them down in March, the gatherings were known as “Madison Dinners” — elaborate, unpublicized affairs that Pompeo and his wife, Susan Pompeo, began in 2018 and held regularly in the historic Diplomatic Reception Rooms on the government’s dime.
State Department officials involved in the dinners said they had raised concerns internally that the events were essentially using federal resources to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo’s political ambitions — complete with extensive contact information that gets sent back to Susan Pompeo’s personal email address.
An NBC News investigation found that Pompeo held about two dozen Madison Dinners since he took over in 2018.
The records show that about 29 percent of the invitees came from the corporate world, while about a quarter of them hailed from the media or entertainment industries, with conservative media members heavily represented. About 30 percent work in politics or government, and just 14 percent were diplomats or foreign officials. Every single member of the House or the Senate who has been invited is a Republican.
The Madison Dinners, which aren’t disclosed on Pompeo’s public schedule, add another element to what his critics say is a pattern of pushing the edge of the envelope by using government resources for potential personal or political gain.
[Inspector General of the Department of State] Steve Linick, who was abruptly fired Friday evening as the State Department’s inspector general, was investigating whether Pompeo made a political appointee carry out personal errands like walking his dog, NBC News reported.
[T]here was the dinner in May 2019 that occurred after Trump stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who accused him of throwing a “temper tantrum.” Among those invited for the next evening’s dinner were Fox News host Laura Ingraham; the E.U. ambassador; Republican power couple Matt and Mercedes Schlapp and Chick-fil-A Chairman Dan Cathy, a major donor to campaigns against same-sex marriage.
“The CEO of Chick-fil-A is not someone I would say is involved in foreign policy,” a person with knowledge of the dinner said.
Some of the other people invited who are vital to foreign policy:
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Fox News moron from the couch, Brian Kilmeade
Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth
Home Depot founder Ken Langone
CEO of 7-Eleven Joe DePinto (Where would foreign policy be without Slurpees?)