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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 TrumpFox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie The Memo: Specter of vaccine hesitancy rises after J&J blow Trump says Prince Philip's death an 'irreplaceable loss' for UK 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 TrumpSt. Louis lawyer who pointed gun at Black Lives Matter protesters considering Senate run Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales US says Iran negotiations are 'positive' 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 ZinkeGuilfoyle named as national chair of Greitens' Senate campaign in Missouri Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens tangles with Hugh Hewitt in testy interview 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 ConwayKellyanne Conway joins Ohio Senate candidate's campaign Mark Zuckerberg, meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau? The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes 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 HaleyNikki HaleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Oddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election 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 AmashBiden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' Battle rages over vaccine passports Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote MORE (R-Mich.) in an upcoming primary.

Both Haley and Scavino were given warnings from the OSC.