Watchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments

A watchdog group alleges that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE’s senior policy adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerWatchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments Stephen Miller criticizes Obama for 'shockingly political' remarks at John Lewis funeral GOP senators push for stimulus checks to almost 2M excluded Americans MORE violated federal law when he made comments on Friday about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE.

The complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) calls for an investigation into Miller’s comments criticizing Biden on Fox News.

“This administration continues to use its official powers improperly to assist the president’s re-election and to chip away at the checks and balances that preserve our democracy,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

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“It is well past time for those like Stephen Miller, who show an open disdain for ethics laws like the Hatch Act and who illegally use official resources to promote the president’s re-election bid, to be held accountable for their actions,” he added.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

The Hatch Act bars federal employees from certain partisan political activity that could influence an election while using their official titles. Those found to have violated it can be fined as much as $1,000 and face disciplinary action such as suspension or termination.

The complaint highlights comments Miller made in a “Fox & Friends” interview during which he was seen standing on the White House grounds and was identified by his official title.

Miller was discussing a variety of issues, including Trump’s claims about voting by mail and ongoing protests in Portland, Ore., before he was asked to comment on former President Obama’s eulogy for the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisTrump's personality is as much a problem as his performance Jesse Jackson: Chicago looting 'humiliating, embarrassing & morally wrong' Bill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump MORE (D-Ga.).

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The adviser lashed out at the former president, saying the speech was “shockingly political” and “scandalously, outrageously false.”

Fox host Brian Kilmeade noted that Miller is “not necessarily on the campaign side, political side” but asked if the president feels like he is running against Obama or Biden.

“Well, as you know, Joe Biden is stuck in a basement somewhere, and he just emerges every now and again, and somebody hands him a notecard, and he says whatever his 23-year-old staffer tells him to say, and then he dutifully disappears to be seen a week later,” Miller said. “As for former President Obama, the reality is that for eight years he delivered nothing but failure and betrayal to the people of this country.”

CREW alleges in the complaint that Miller likely violated the Hatch Act by mixing official government business with his political views about Biden.

“There is also no doubt that Miller’s statements were aimed at influencing the success or failure of a candidate in a partisan election,” CREW wrote. “Miller responded to a question specifically prefaced as ‘political’ in nature related to Biden by attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee for president as being stuck in the basement and taking direction from young staffers.”

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The Trump campaign also used the clip of Miller's appearance on social media.

Several other Trump officials have been accused of violating the Hatch Act, including the president’s daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpUS should support Ngozi for WTO Director General   Trump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Deutsche Bank launches investigation into longtime banker of Trump, Kushner MORE and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFederal government pauses Kodak loan pending probes Beirut blast raises urgent questions about America's leadership in the world Lincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' MORE, who both serve in the White House as his senior advisers.

The watchdog group also filed a complaint against White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOn The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE in July for making disparaging comments about Biden as well as offering an apparent endorsement of a Republican congressional candidate.

CREW compared Meadows's conduct with the OSC’s description of Hatch Act violations committed by White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayLincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire Lincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Watchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments MORE last year.

A 17-page report submitted to the White House found that Conway violated the law in more than half a dozen television interviews and tweets by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity.”

The OSC publicly said Conway should be removed from office, calling her a “repeat offender” who has flouted the law barring federal employees from engaging in political activity in their official duties.

Trump rebuked the recommendation and said he would not fire Conway for the violations.