Officials in former President Donald Trump's State Department allowed tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts to become missing and unaccounted for, according to a new report from the agency's inspector general.
The missing gifts were either purchased with taxpayer money to give to foreign leaders, or received by senior State Department officials, the New York Times reports.
"The report said that the missing gifts include a 30-year-old Suntory Hibiki bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo worth $5,800; a 22-karat gold commemorative coin valued at $560 given to another State Department official, and monogrammed commemorative pewter trays, marble trinket boxes, and leather portfolios," the newspaper reported. "The New York Times reported last month that in January, as Trump political appointees at the State Department were cleaning out their offices, career officers saw their departing colleagues leave the building with the gift bags meant for foreign leaders at the summit."
According to the inspector general's report, after political appointees resigned from the State Department at the end of the Trump administration, career officials took over the Office of the Chief of Protocol, which oversees the exchanging of gifts with foreign leaders.
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"On January 20, the Acting Assistant Chief of Protocol for Visits entered the gift vault accompanied by other career officials and found it in a state of disarray," the report states, adding that they "then began an inventory of the vault and compared it with a list of gifts ... and identified several items that were not in the vault."
The report did not determine whether the items were stolen or simply lost, the Times reports.
"The inspector general said that record keeping was poor, there was no security camera footage to review and that many individuals who had access to the vault have left government," according to the newspaper. "For example, the inspector general said, between August 2020 and January, the vault was entered over 3,000 times by at least 77 people."
Although the inspector general has no power to "compel" Trump officials to answer questions about the missing gifts, the report recommends that the State Department adopt a more rigorous property management system and enhance the security of the vault.
The report focuses only on the State Department and doesn't address gifts given to White House officials, including Trump.