White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been found to have violated the Hatch Act by the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel. The violation occurred when she used the term “mega MAGA” during press briefings. The watchdog group issued a warning letter to Jean-Pierre as a result.
The Office of the Special Counsel investigated the complaint filed by Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump administration official and director of the Protect the Public’s Trust organization. Chamberlain alleged that Jean-Pierre’s use of the phrase “mega MAGA Republican[s]” was an inappropriate attempt to influence the vote. In a letter dated June 7, Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act Unit, stated that they found Jean-Pierre’s references to “MAGA Republicans” to be political activity aimed at generating opposition to Republican candidates. As Jean-Pierre made these statements in her official capacity, she violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of official authority or influence to interfere with or affect election results.
The Hatch Act, established in 1939 and updated in 2012, aims to ensure nonpartisan administration of federal programs, protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and base employee advancement on merit rather than political affiliation. While certain federal employees, such as the president and vice president, are exempt from the act, there are numerous positions included, such as administrative law judges, intelligence agencies, the Federal Election Commission, and the Secret Service.
Under the Hatch Act, government employees are permitted to register and vote as they choose, express opinions about candidates and issues, participate in campaigns where no candidate represents a political party, and engage in various political activities. However, they are prohibited from being candidates in partisan elections, campaigning for or against candidates, collecting campaign contributions, distributing campaign materials, and holding office in political clubs or parties, among other restrictions.
Penalties for violating the Hatch Act range from reprimands and suspensions to removal from federal employment. The seriousness of the violation determines the appropriate penalty, and the Merit System Protection Board may hold a hearing in such cases. Additionally, the department employing the individual may be required to forfeit federal funds equivalent to two years of the employee’s pay at the time of the violation.
About the Author:
Parminder Singh (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) Founder of FlipCard is an SEO & content writing expert helping businesses succeed online. My innovative and cutting-edge SEO techniques have revolutionized the field, helping numerous companies boost their online visibility and achieve their business goals. Sharing tips on improving rankings, driving traffic & boosting ROI.