13 Trump’s top officials who conducted illegal political activities have no consequences – Mother Jones

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Donald Trump will be unaffected for using the White House to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention on August 27, 2020. Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty

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Thirteen senior Trump administration officials have broken a law that restricts biased political activity by federal employees, but will face no legal consequences, a federal supervisory agency said in a report. published report Tuesday.

In a 59-page report, the Office of Special Counsel, or OSC, a small agency that enforces federal labor laws, said the Trump administration has established “a taxpayer-funded electoral apparatus within top management. executive branch “and showed” willful contempt “for the law. They did so, according to the OSC, through various 2020 activities, including conducting the Republican National Convention at the White House.

The officials cited in the report are:

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Chad Wolf, interim secretary for internal security
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
  • National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien
  • Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette
  • United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
  • Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff
  • Senior Advisor to President Jared Kushner
  • Senior Advisor to President for Policy Stephen Miller
  • Senior Advisor to President Kellyanne Conway
  • Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
  • Strategic Communications Director Alyssa Farah
  • Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern

The Hatch Act prohibits all executive branch employees, except the president and vice president, from engaging in partisan political activity in the workplace. This activity is a civil, not a criminal, offense. And while basic federal workers can be fined, suspended, or fired for acts like raising money for political candidates during government time, the rules for senior government officials are different. For White House officers in charge and all positions requiring Senate confirmation, OSC investigators can only report the findings to the president, who is left to take “appropriate action.” The OSC does not even have the power to punish officials after they leave their federal jobs.

“Where, as in the Trump administration, the White House chooses to ignore the requirements of the Hatch Act, there is currently no mechanism for holding senior administration officials accountable for violating the law,” the report said.

The administration of George W. Bush and Barack Obama done answer, Self grudgingly, to the OSC rulings that some of their officials violated the act. But Trump has openly encouraged aides to flaunt the law. In the process he proved that the act is too weak to enforce if the president wants to ignore it.

“The Hatch Act is effective in securing a depoliticized federal workforce only when the president decides it will be,” the report said.

Trump accused of violating the Hatch Act when he held the biggest election event of the year at the White House. The OSC stated in its report that the law does not prevent a political party from doing so. Therefore, the agency did not find it illegal for Trump to give a speech at the convention and hold other NCR events at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Assuming that the president or vice president, neither of whom is subject to the Hatch Act, authorizes the White House to be used for a political congress and that the congress itself is produced by non-federal employees, that circumstance alone would not violate the Hatch Act, “The report said so.

But many Trump officials have broken the law in connection with the 2020 Republican convention, the office found. Pompeo, who appears to be planning a presidential run of 2024, violated the Hatch Act by using State Department resources for deliver a recorded speech from Jerusalem to the NCR on August 24, 2020, “using his official authority as he delivered that speech to promote President Trump’s candidacy,” the report noted. Pompeo ignored State Department attorneys who urged him not to deliver the speech, or at least to avoid discussing the department’s work at the address, the report said.

The wolf broke the law preside on a naturalization ceremony for new citizens held in the White House on August 25 “which was orchestrated for the purpose of creating content for the convention,” the OSC ruled.

Neither Pompeo nor Wolf responded to requests for comment.

The other officials allegedly violated the Hatch Act by promoting Trump’s re-election campaign during “official” interviews between July and October of 2020. Conway did so in Fox News appearances on August 12 and 18, despite the OSC. previously. to find who has repeatedly violated the act. In 2019, Conway mocked questions about such violations. “Let me know when the prison sentence begins,” he told a reporter.

“Nobody outside the Beltway really cares,” Meadows She said on August 26, 2020, in response to concerns about Trump holding RNC events at the White House. The report claims that Meadows violated the act during the same interview, when he promoted the re-election of Trump, one of three violations the OSC claims was committed by the former North Carolina congressman who became Trump’s chief of staff.

Contrary to what Meadows said, the report also notes that “the OSC has been inundated with calls, emails and complaints from members of the public in response” to efforts by Trump and his advisers to use government resources. to promote his campaign last year.

The OSC said Trump’s blatant violation of the law by senior officials was harmful, in part because it prompted some career federal employees to question whether they were still required to comply with the Hatch Act. The report reiterated that “such flagrant and unpunished violations erode the main foundation of our democratic system: the rule of law”.

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