White House press secretary and top spokesman violated Hatch Act: Watchdog

White House press secretary and top spokesman violated Hatch Act: Watchdog

  • December 1, 2023

Alex Gangitano, The Hill

A watchdog agency has informed the White House that press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and spokesman Andrew Bates violated the Hatch Act, giving Jean-Pierre her second warning letter this year over the use of the term “MAGA.”

The OSC previously sent Jean-Pierre a warning letter in June for her usage of the term “mega MAGA Republicans” during press briefings in the lead up to the 2022 midterm elections. The agency did not pursue disciplinary action at that time but issued guidance that said “MAGA” is off limits under the Hatch Act.

A week after the guidance was issued and Jean-Pierre received the warning, she used the term “hardcore MAGA” budget in a statement, and Bates said “MAGA tax welfare” in a memo. The OSC did not pursue disciplinary action, according to NBC.

Protect the Public’s Trust, a conservative watchdog group run by former Trump administration official Michael Chamberlain, filed a Hatch Act complaint to the OSC about Jean-Pierre and Bates and told NBC that the lack of consequences since shows “nobody takes the Hatch Act very seriously.”

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