The Hatch Act was broken by 13 top Trump administration officials in the run-up to the 2020 elections, as per the US Justice Department, in a report released on Tuesday by the Office of Special Counsel, according to POLITICO.
Senior Trump Administration Officials
According to CNN, 11 of the senior Trump officials are accused of violating the Hatch Act by campaigning on behalf of President Trump’s reelection in 18 official interviews or media appearances, and two of them are accused of violating the Republican National Convention or RNC’s 2020 rules.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, chief of staff Mark Meadows, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany are among the people accused of illegally advocating Trump’s reelection on the job.
According to the report, these officials used their positions to sway the 2020 presidential election with Trump administration approval. While the Office of Special Counsel can demand the removal or punishment of most federal employees who break the Hatch Act, it can only submit a report to the president notifying him of the violation.
The Hatch Act
Trump falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud tainted the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden. On January 6, after delivering a fiery speech in Washington, DC, a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building as Congress convened to certify Biden’s victory, as per Aljazeera.
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees, other than the president and vice president, from engaging in certain political activities such as tweeting specific messages, speaking about candidates, diverting official travel to attend political events, and fundraising. It was enacted in 1939 after Democrats were accused of using Works Progress Administration employees to influence elections the previous year, as per POLITICO.
The Office of Special Counsel or OSC concluded that at least 13 different Trump administration officials violated the Hatch Act on one or more occasions. With the positions that the former officials held and the fact that they are no longer government employees, OSC has no statutory authority to pursue these cases beyond the issuance of the report.