Office of Special Counsel investigating use of White House for Trump campaign ‘war room’

A federal government watchdog has opened an investigation into the Trump campaign’s use of the White House complex for a “war room” on Election Day, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said.

Pascrell wrote to the Office of Special Counsel on Wednesday raising concerns about the campaign using space in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to monitor election returns. The office reported Thursday that it was investigating the matter for potential Hatch Act violations, Pascrell wrote on Twitter.

The Office of Special Counsel confirmed it had opened an investigation, but declined further comment.

The Trump campaign said Tuesday that the war room “needed to be in close proximity to the president and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayers for the use of a room in the EEOB.”

A spokesman further insisted the arrangement was approved by the White House counsel and that “every piece of equipment, including WiFi and computers, was paid for by the campaign.”

Pascrell, in his letter to the Office of Special Counsel, asked how the setup did not violate the Hatch Act or if the watchdog was consulted ahead of time. The congressman also questioned whether the Trump campaign installing its own WiFi and computers posed a security risk.

The Trump administration has been the subject of numerous Hatch Act complaints over the last four years.

The law prohibits federal government employees from engaging in campaign activity in their official capacity. The Office of Special Counsel previously recommended that then-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired for being a repeat offender.

The White House in the last several weeks further blurred the lines between governing and campaigning.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has appeared on television multiple times as a “Trump 2020 campaign adviser,” and national security adviser Robert O’Brien last week visited the battleground states of Wisconsin and Minnesota for official business.

The president previously delivered his acceptance speech for the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn.

Tags 2020 election Bill Pascrell Hatch Act Kellyanne Conway presidential campaign
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