Watchdog group calls for probe into whether Whitaker violated Hatch Act

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Watchdog group American Oversight on Wednesday submitted a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel concerning what the organization calls a potential Hatch Act violation by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. 

The complaint is based on reports that Whitaker received political contributions while serving as a federal employee.

{mosads}According to Federal Election Commission reports, Whitaker’s 2014 Iowa U.S. Senate campaign committee is still active and received $8,800 between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2 of this year. At least some of the contributors appear to be affiliated with Whitaker’s former lobbying clients, according to the watchdog group.

American Oversight is asking the Office of Special Counsel to open an investigation into the violation of the Hatch Act requirement that a federal “employee may not … knowingly solicit, accept, or receive a political contribution from any person.”

“The nation’s highest law enforcement officer should be above reproach, but Acting Attorney General Whitaker’s financial disclosures raise potential concerns of both dishonesty and covert partisan conflicts of interest,” American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers wrote in a blog post on the organizations website.

“Even after days of refusing to release these forms while they underwent last minute revisions, Whitaker hasn’t been able to avoid obvious problems that demand investigation.”

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

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

Tags acting attorney general Hatch Act Office of Special Counsel

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