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 TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts 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 TrumpWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Ginsburg becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rabbi memorializes Ginsburg: Her dissents were 'blueprints for the future' 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) Haley'The soul' versus 'law and order' Author Ryan Girdusky: RNC worked best when highlighting 'regular people' as opposed to 'standard Republicans' GOP lobbyists pleasantly surprised by Republican convention 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 AmashRon Paul hospitalized in Texas Internal Democratic poll shows tight race in contest to replace Amash Centrist Democrats 'strongly considering' discharge petition on GOP PPP bill 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 ConwaySpecial counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report George and Kellyanne Conway honor Ginsburg Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death 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 didn't pay income tax for 10 of 15 years before 2016 election: NYT The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report MORE.

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