Report Says Six Trump Officials Violated The Hatch Act via Twitter

The White House. Photo by Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons

On Friday the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that six employees in the Executive Office of President violated the Hatch Act, an act that bars federal employees from using their positions for political purposes, when they tweeted with the hashtag #MAGA or tweeted links to political party research. 

The findings came in response to ten separate complaints filed by Citizen for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), back in August, writing at the time, “in the months since President Donald Trump announced his candidacy for re-election, ten White House officials appear to have violated the Hatch Act by using their official government Twitter accounts for political activity.” 

The Ten Official’s named by CREW in the August complaint were: 

  • Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. 
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders 
  • Deputy of Communications Jessica Ditto 
  • Executive Assistant to the President Madeline Westerhout 
  • Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah
  • Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters 
  • Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferré
  • Vice President Pence’s Press Secretary Alyssa Farah 
  • Office of Management and Budget Deputy Communications Director Jacob Wood 
  • Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel findings, those employees that violated the Hatch Act by using their official White House Twitter Accounts to send political messages either in support of the Republican National Committee or the President’s re-election campaign are: 

  • Executive Assistant to the President Madeline Westerhout for tweeting and re-tweeting that included the #MAGA hashtag.
  •  Vice President Pence’s Press Secretary Alyssa Farah for using in two tweets the #MAGA hashtag 
  • Office of Management and Budget Deputy Communications Director Jacob Wood for retweeting a message from a political party chairperson with the campaign slogan of a current candidate for partisan political office constitutes political activity.
  • Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah when he highlighted research done by a political party and provided a link to the party’s website and its research.
  • Deputy of Communications Jessica Ditto when she re-tweeted Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah’s tweet that highlighted research done by a political party and provided a link to the party’s website and its research. 
  • Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferré when she used the text “Make America Great Again,” in her header photo.

The three found not to have violated the Hatch Act are, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Mulvaney, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters, and Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. 

The Hill reported Friday that back in March the U.S. Office of Special Counsel clarified that personal that used the official Twitter accounts using the slogan “Make America Great Again,” or the shorter MAGA, were in clear violation of the Hatch Act. 

The article goes on to say that the “OSC decided not to pursue disciplinary action against any of the officials,” as each official deleted their tweets, once they became aware of the violation. 

Just a reminder the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel is not related to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Office. 

Why It Should Matter 

Let it sink in that all these violations occurred over the social media website Twitter. I am often asked how come President Trump’s tweets matter, they matter because he is the President, they matter because they are treated as Presidential communication. When you work for a government agency and use a government agencies social media account, it is not your personal playground. It is in fact maintained by the tax payer. Again, let it sink in that we pay people to maintain government social media pages, from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, maybe even Snapchat… It matters or it should matter.  

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About Tiff 1233 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.