“An employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not ask his secretary to type his personal correspondence during duty hours.”

That is one example in the federal code of regulations of a personal task executive branch employees are not allowed to assign to government staff.

CNN reports that an unnamed congressional committee has been told by whistleblowers that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used members of his security patrol to pick up his dogs, his son and his Chinese food.

Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family’s use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security — prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as “UberEats with guns”.

Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.

“These are not the kind of people who go around complaining,” retired Rear Admiral John Kirby told CNN.

random golden retriever
Not Mike Pompeo’s dog. Photo by Calyponte

The report quoted the head of Pompeo’s security as saying that the staff was never asked to do anything “that would be inconsistent with our professional obligation to protect the Secretary 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.”

Here’s what the Code of Federal Regulations says;


(a) Use of an employee’s own time. Unless authorized in accordance with law or regulations to use such time for other purposes, an employee shall use official time in an honest effort to perform official duties. An employee not under a leave system, including a Presidential appointee exempted under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2), has an obligation to expend an honest effort and a reasonable proportion of his time in the performance of official duties.

Example 1: An employee of the Social Security Administration may use official time to engage in certain representational activities on behalf of the employee union of which she is a member. Under 5 U.S.C. 7131, this is a proper use of her official time even though it does not involve performance of her assigned duties as a disability claims examiner.

Example 2: A pharmacist employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs has been granted excused absence to participate as a speaker in a conference on drug abuse sponsored by the professional association to which he belongs. Although excused absence granted by an agency in accordance with the guidance in chapter 630 of the Federal Personnel Manual allows an employee to be absent from his official duties without charge to his annual leave account, such absence is not on official time.

(b) Use of a subordinate’s time. An employee shall not encourage, direct, coerce, or request a subordinate to use official time to perform activities other than those required in the performance of official duties or authorized in accordance with law or regulation.

Example 1: An employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not ask his secretary to type his personal correspondence during duty hours. Further, directing or coercing a subordinate to perform such activities during nonduty hours constitutes an improper use of public office for private gain in violation of §2635.702(a). Where the arrangement is entirely voluntary and appropriate compensation is paid, the secretary may type the correspondence at home on her own time. Where the compensation is not adequate, however, the arrangement would involve a gift to the superior in violation of the standards in subpart C of this part.