Biden’s top aide has been cautioned for violating the Hatch Act
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden’s chief of staff broke the law by retweeting a political message on his government Twitter account, and he was also sent a warning letter, according to a memo from the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Top aide Ron Klein “made a mistake this time” and will be more careful, the White House said Thursday.
Wednesday’s memo said Klain violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from using their official roles to influence elections, including supporting candidates, while acting in their official capacity. A message that Klain retweeted on May 22 from STRIKE PAC, a Democratic group, was about the delivery of infant milk to Americans. But the message also contained encouragement: “Get your Democrats to deliver the goods today!”
Klain removed the retweet as soon as he was notified of the complaint. No disciplinary action will be taken, and the Bureau, an independent government watchdog that monitors violations of the Hatch Act, considers the matter closed. Klain was warned to be more careful in the future.
The conservative legal group America First Legal, led by Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, complained about the tweet and called for an investigation.
Miller and at least a dozen other former Trump administration officials on multiple occasions violated the same lawwithout consequence and with Trump’s approval, as part of “deliberate disregard for the Hatch Act,” the Office of Special Counsel found in 2021. The office investigated comments made by Trump officials leading up to the 2020 presidential election, including at the Republican National Convention, which was held in the White House. home in a major departure from historical norms.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “we are not perfect, but there have been few of our transgressions.”
“Ron is very careful and takes the Hatch Act very seriously in his media appearances and use of Twitter, but this time he got it wrong,” she said. “He fixed it as soon as it was pointed out and took the warning to be more careful.”
Jean-Pierre often cites the Hatch Act in deflecting policy issues during news briefings. Earlier this week, she was asked if Biden was doing everything in his power to get Democrats to the finish line in the Nov. 8 election.
“I have to be careful what I say, because we respect the Hatch Act here in this administration,” she said.
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