Federal agency closes Hatch Act loophole by enforcing White House violations internally

Federal agency closes Hatch Act loophole by enforcing White House violations internally

  • May 20, 2024

Misty Severi, Just the News

The federal agency that investigates alleged Hatch Act violations is changing its enforcement policies by bringing cases internally instead of bringing recommendations to the president.

The Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from partaking in certain partisan political activities while in office, was passed in 1939. Its purpose is to “ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion.” The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) is in charge of investigating Hatch Act violations, but typically gave the president discretion in enforcing the act.

Special Counsel Hampton Dellinger said he has instructed his office to fully enforce the act against White House employees, breaking from decades of precedent. It comes after a government watchdog accused White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre of violating the act, by frequently using words like “MAGA Republicans.”

The rule change now gives the power to enforce the Hatch Act violations committed by White House personnel to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). It also expands the enforcement of violations to people who are no longer federal employees, and bans federal employees and officials from wearing or displaying partisan merchandise at work.

Read More