Hatch Act complaints jumped nearly 30 percent Trump's first year in office: report

Hatch Act complaints jumped nearly 30 percent Trump's first year in office: report
© Getty Images

During President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE’s first year in office, formal Hatch Act complaints to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) jumped 30 percent.

Under the Hatch Act, enacted in 1939, federal employees are barred from certain political activities, such as making partisan comments that could sway an election while using their official designations.

ADVERTISEMENT

At least 10 Trump senior officials have violated the act so far, according to the Office of Special counsel, Politico reports. During the past few months, a Trump appointee reportedly had a “Make America Great Again” hat at her office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a top official at the Office of Management and Budget promoted Trump’s campaign slogan on Twitter. 

Among those targeted in recent complaints is White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway: Pelosi is playing Trump 'like a drum' Schumer: Trump was 'agitated' during White House infrastructure meeting Trump, Pelosi exchange insults as feud intensifies MORE, who revealed her personal political views while appearing on CNN and discussing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani meets with former Ukrainian diplomat to get info on Dems Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery MORE’s 2020 presidential run — all while being identified by her official title.

It is not the first time Conway has been accused of violating the act — she was found to have disobeyed the law on two previous occasions when she endorsed and advocated against political candidates during the Senate special election in Alabama.

In December, six additional White House officials were found to have violated the Hatch Act — including principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah and White House deputy communications director Jessica Ditto — by using their Twitter accounts to tweet statements such as “#MAGA,” which OSC deemed partisan.

In fiscal 2019 — which doesn’t end until Sept. 30 — OSC has received 177 official complaints, compared to 263 in all of fiscal 2018, Politico reports.

Watchdog groups say the count might be higher, but that these additional complaints go unreported.