Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet

Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet
© Getty Images

An ethics group has filed a complaint arguing that first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump, Harris, Ocasio-Cortez, Charlie Kirk among Twitter's most-engaged users The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dies at 85 MORE’s spokeswoman violated federal law by using the president’s campaign slogan on her White House Twitter account.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) against Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

Grisham and the White House have not responded to requests for comment from The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT

Grisham posted a tweet Wednesday about the crowd at a campaign rally for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE and said how she was “so proud to work” for the Trumps.

Grisham also included a “#MAGA” to represent Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

CREW alleges that Grisham violated the Hatch Act by promoting the Trump campaign slogan.

The law bars federal employees from using their offices for political purposes. 

The watchdog group notes in the complaint that Grisham uses that account, @StephGrisham45, to conduct official White House Business. It also indicates that her tweets may be archived by the White House.

“The legal rules and guidance are clear that government officials aren’t allowed to use their positions for partisan political activity,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Despite multiple investigations and violations found, the Trump Administration has done nothing to curb its Hatch Act violations and stop the misuse of government for political purposes,” Bookbinder added.

Those found to have violated the Hatch Act can be fined as much as $1,000 and face disciplinary actions like suspension or termination.

Several members of the Trump administration have been accused of violating the Hatch Act, though none appear to have been punished.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Zinke, Lewandowski join Trump veterans’ lobbying firm Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? MORE apologized and deleted a tweet showing him wearing socks with Trump’s face on them and the “Make America Great Again” slogan after he was accused of violating the law in June.

An investigation from the OSC in March found that White House Counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump, Harris, Ocasio-Cortez, Charlie Kirk among Twitter's most-engaged users White House seeks to clarify Trump remarks on emergency Trump says he 'didn't need to' declare emergency but wanted 'faster' action MORE violated the Hatch Act on two separate occasions.

Conway refused to acknowledge publicly if she faced a punishment for the violations. 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyNikki Haley slams media for Smollett coverage: 'He played them all for fools' Four names emerge for UN position: report Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job MORE was also found to have violated the law by retweeting an endorsement from Trump in October. 

Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, was also found in violation of the law last year after CREW filed a complaint accused him of encouraging potential GOP challengers to oust Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration House approves motion condemning anti-Semitism Schiff: Intel chiefs testimony may ‘undermine’ Trump’s ability to declare emergency for wall MORE (R-Mich.) in an upcoming primary.

Both Haley and Scavino were given warnings from the OSC.