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Watchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat

Watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint against White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday, alleging she violated the federal Hatch Act. 

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CREW’s complaint to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) details how Sanders posted a photo on her official White House Twitter account of herself with Kanye West during the rapper’s Thursday visit to the Oval Office.

West is wearing one of President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE’s signature “Make America Great Again” (MAGA)hats in the photo.

The act bars federal employees from using their offices, work resources and social media accounts for political purposes. 

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

The OSC clarified this March that any reference to Trump’s “MAGA” campaign slogan was a clear violation, the watchdog noted. 

This is not the first time that Sanders and other members of the Trump administration have been accused of violating the Hatch Act.

Sanders was one of 10 White House staffers included in a CREW complaint from August after they allegedly used Trump’s MAGA slogan or posted support for Trump’s 2020 presidential candidacy.

“This administration does not seem to care about what the law says when it comes to ethics issues like using official positions for politics,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

“How many investigations and findings of violations are needed until this administration takes action to stop the misuse of government resources for political activity?”

Sanders did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump bids farewell to Be Best in new video Garth Brooks, Joan Baez among this year's Kennedy Center honorees Melania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots MORE’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, was accused by CREW of violating the federal act by using #MAGA on her official Twitter account.

Meanwhile, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyIn calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threat Nikki Haley unveils PAC ahead of possible 2024 White House bid We've seen this movie before — Rumors of Trump's political demise are greatly exaggerated MORE was found to have violated the act by retweeting an endorsement from Trump last October. 

Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, was also found to have violated the act last year after CREW filed a complaint accusing him of encouraging potential GOP challengers to oust Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Michigan GOP lawmaker says he's 'strongly considering' impeachment Newly sworn in Republican House member after Capitol riot: 'I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.' MORE (R-Mich.) in an upcoming primary.

Haley, Scavino and Grisham were reportedly given warnings from the OSC.

An investigation from the special counsel in March found that White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayPence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Kellyanne Conway condemns violence, supports Trump in statement on Capitol riots Kellyanne Conway calls for violent Capitol protesters to 'just STOP' MORE violated the Hatch Act on two separate occasions, once after using her official position to promote products from the president's daughter, Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: What to expect for inauguration DC attorney general pushing to interview Trump Jr. Secret Service renting K a month apartment near Ivanka and Jared for bathrooms, office space: report MORE.

Conway did not say whether she faced a punishment for the violations.