December 3, 2023

Watchdog: Jean-Pierre violated Hatch Act despite prior warnings

A report recently issued by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) reveals that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has once again run afoul of the Hatch Act due to the words she has used to describe supporters of former President Donald Trump, as The Hill explains.

Jean-Pierre's infractions relate specifically to her use of the term “MAGA” during her official duties on behalf of the Biden administration.

Hatch Act violations confirmed

The Hatch Act is a federal statute that forbids employees of the federal government from conducting campaign-related activity while carrying out official government duties.

As such, the OSC has determined that Jean-Pierre violated the law when she pejoratively referenced “MAGA” Republicans when speaking earlier this year about the GOP's stance on budget negotiations.

Notably, Jean-Pierre had already been cautioned by the OSC in June following prior violations during which she used the phrase “mega MAGA Republicans” ahead of the 2022 midterm contests.

Though no disciplinary action was taken against Jean-Pierre at that time, she was informed that the term “MAGA” was not to be used during her fulfilment of official tasks.

Despite those words of caution, just a week after she received that communication, Jean-Pierre referenced a “hardcore MAGA” budget in an administration memo.

Not just Jean-Pierre

As Just the News notes, Jean-Pierre was not the only Biden official to be cited for Hatch Act violations in the most recent round of reporting, with deputy press secretary Andrew Bates also declared to have breached the law's requirements.

Bates is said to have referenced “radical MAGAnomics policies” in a memo circulated in October, an offense similar to those of his boss, Jean-Pierre.

The deputy press secretary was also said to have used the term “MAGA tax welfare,” drawing additional admonishment from the OSC.

Double standard at play?

In the wake of the aforementioned findings, the White House issued a statement saying, “We take the law seriously and uphold the Hatch Act,” but given the lack of consequences faced by Jean-Pierre or Bates to date, many remain skeptical about that assertion.

Indeed, the lenient treatment Biden officials have received, despite findings of violations, stands in stark contrast to that afforded Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to then-President Donald Trump, who was similarly cited for Hatch Act violations, but who also faced calls from the OSC for her removal as a result.

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