August 5, 2021
(NEXSTAR) – The U.S. State Department wants to know what happened to an expensive bottle of Japanese whisky gifted to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In a filing posted in the Federal Register, the State Department has confirmed an investigation into the whereabouts of the bottle, given to Pompeo by the government of Japan in 2019. The department has listed the value of the bottle at $5,800, but classified its current disposition as “unknown.”
“The Department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry,” the State Department wrote in a footnote included within the public notice.
In a statement obtained by The New York Times, Pompeo attorney William A. Burck claims that his client has “no idea” what happened to the whisky. It’s also possible that the whisky was given to a staff member rather than Pompeo himself, as he was traveling in Saudi Arabia at the time, the Times noted.
U.S. officials are not allowed to keep gifts from foreign governments valued at over $390 but may accept and donate the gift to the National Archives, NBC News reports. They also have the option of purchasing the gift for themselves on the condition they reimburse the Treasury Department for the appraised value.
The State Department’s report, dated July 22, detailed many of the gifts given to U.S. officials by foreign governments in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Among them were dozens of gifts donated to former President Donald Trump or former first lady Melania Trump from foreign dignitaries, including statues, paintings and a cashmere blanket. All were handed over to the National Archives.