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

Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet
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An ethics group has filed a complaint arguing that first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGeorge Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' Impeachment witness apologizes for mentioning Barron Trump in hearing Melania Trump says impeachment witness 'should be ashamed' for mentioning son 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.

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Grisham posted a tweet Wednesday about the crowd at a campaign rally for President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report 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: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics 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 ConwayGeorge Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' Trump: Democrats' impeachment 'performance' is 'unpatriotic' George Conway quote-tweets Kellyanne Conway on Trump, Biden, Ukraine 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) HaleyTrump: Kellyanne Conway 'must have done some bad things' to 'crazy' husband Trump says Pence will remain on 2020 ticket: 'He's our man 100 percent' Tillerson: Using American aid for 'some kind of personal gain [is] wrong' 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 AmashHillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill Pressure grows on House GOP leaders to hold line ahead of impeachment trial MORE (R-Mich.) in an upcoming primary.

Both Haley and Scavino were given warnings from the OSC.