James Madison, fourth president of the United States the fifth secretary of state, used to host dinners with foreign diplomats to exchange ideas.
Using the pretext of "Madison dinners," the nakedly ambitious and ruthless Mike Pompeo is using taxpayer money to invite celebrities and corporate elites to lavish dinners to build a donor database for 2024.
The pompous Pompeo, who was first in his class at West Point (probably cheated, from what we've seen of how enthusiastically he uses Other People's Money for his personal comfort), is also deeply entwined with the hardcore religious right. He is a dangerous man. That's why we should all pay attention to this story.
NBC's Josh Lederman explained the details.
"We know that State Department officials have raised concerns internally that they were essentially being tasked with building Secretary Pompeo's future donor Rolodex for a potential campaign. Because all of the detail contact information and details about all of the people being invited were being sent back to his wife, Mrs. Pompeo's personal Gmail address," he said.
"Now we speak to the State Department, who says these Madison dinners did serve a legitimate diplomatic purpose. But we actually crunched the numbers on a master file that NBC News obtained of all of the people that have been invited to these dinners over the last couple years. We found out only 14% of the invitees were actually foreign officials or diplomats who you might expect.
"The majority of them were either business people, major Republican donors, or government types, like members of Congress. All Republican members of Congress and the Senate who were invited. And all of this coming amid this growing scrutiny of Secretary Pompeo, the way he's used government resources during his time in office, and what the inspector general was looking into at the time he was removed late last week."