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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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: One week from Election Day | Biden looks to expand map | Trump trails narrowly in Florida, Arizona Melania Trump focuses on coronavirus in return to campaign trail Watch live: Melania Trump holds MAGA event 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 TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven 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 Zinke5 major ways that Interior slashed protections for wildlife  Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention 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 ConwayMelania Trump focuses on coronavirus in return to campaign trail McEnany appears on Fox in 'personal capacity' as Trump campaign adviser Melania Trump to hit campaign trail in Pennsylvania 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) HaleyGraham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' 'The soul' versus 'law and order' Author Ryan Girdusky: RNC worked best when highlighting 'regular people' as opposed to 'standard Republicans' 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 AmashEnergized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory Ocasio-Cortez draws hundreds of thousands of viewers on Twitch livestream Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones MORE (R-Mich.) in an upcoming primary.

Both Haley and Scavino were given warnings from the OSC.