White House press secretary acted ‘contrary’ to Hatch Act, watchdog says

White House press secretary acted ‘contrary’ to Hatch Act, watchdog says

  • December 1, 2023

Marisa Iati and Tyler Pager, Washington Post

Two top White House spokespeople violated the Hatch Act by repeatedly using the term “MAGA” to refer to some Republicans, a watchdog agency found — though the organization did not recommend disciplinary action.

The independent Office of the Special Counsel said the spokespeople failed to comply with the law, designed to limit the political activity of government employees, when they slammed “MAGA” Republicans for their budget proposal in June.

“Please rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation and reserve the right to reopen these cases,” the OSC wrote to Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump administration official who runs a conservative government watchdog group. The organization, Protect the Public’s Trust, had asked OSC to open an investigation into the matter.

In a statement Friday, Chamberlain said the OSC was failing to hold Jean-Pierre and her colleagues accountable.

“It is deeply disappointing that the spokesperson for the self-proclaimed most ethical administration in history, who constantly invokes the Hatch Act to swat away uncomfortable questions, has so brazenly and repeatedly violated it,” he said. “The American public has been inundated with statements claiming that ‘no one is above the law,’ yet it appears that she is among a select group who are.”

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