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 John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa 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 TrumpOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Mattis defends border deployment during visit to troops | Bolton aide exits WH after clash with first lady | House blocks Yemen war resolution | Report warns of erosion in US military superiority Bolton aide exits White House after high-profile clash with first lady The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Turbulence in the West Wing as shakeup looms 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 HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHillicon Valley: DHS cyber unit gets makeover | Russia wants DNC hacking suit dismissed | Facebook paid group that linked critics to Soros | Panel warns of threat from Chinese tech | Koch groups criticize incentives to corporations after Amazon deal State Dept. says defendant in GOP donor's hacking case has diplomatic immunity The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Turbulence in the West Wing as shakeup looms 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 AmashThe real winner of the 2018 midterms: individual liberty Scarborough rips Graham for saying he’ll introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship: He’s ‘degrading’ himself for Trump GOP lawmaker: Trump 'cannot amend Constitution or laws via executive order' 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 ConwayGeorge Conway forms group to encourage conservative lawyers to 'speak out' against Trump Trump’s new strategy: Chummer-in-Chief Kellyanne Conway responds to idea of Clinton 2020 campaign MORE violated the Hatch Act on two separate occasions, once after using her official position to promote products from the president's daughter, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump says he will decide Nielsen's fate 'shortly' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Turbulence in the West Wing as shakeup looms Trump eyes post-midterm shakeup MORE.

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