Probe: Trump officials mixed campaigning and governing
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is recommending changes to the law that’s supposed to prevent government officials from influencing elections. In a report released Tuesday, the office said 13 former Trump administration officials violated the Hatch Act during the 2020 presidential campaign. They include chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and presidential adviser Jared Kushner, who is also the former president’s son-in-law. All of the officials named in the report advocated for President Donald Trump’s reelection in media interviews while speaking in their official capacity.
What does this mean? The report urged Congress to amend the act to allow fines for Senate-confirmed presidential appointees and commissioned officers who violate its rules. It asked for greater investigative authority for the Office of Special Counsel and wanted lawmakers to clarify which areas of the White House should be off-limits to political activity. Trump addressed the 2020 Republican National Convention from the White House amid pandemic restrictions against large gatherings. Despite its recommendation, the report found the convention did not violate restrictions against campaign influence.
Dig deeper: From the archives, read Harvest Prude’s report in The Sift about the agency’s call to remove White House counselor Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violations in 2019.
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