Trump White House is tossing aside a key ethics law

Trump White House is tossing aside a key ethics law

The White House is taking the same casual approach to the Hatch Act—which forbids government officials from using their public positions for the benefit of partisan politics—as it takes to every other ethics question. The president and vice president are exempted from the Hatch Act, but in theory it applies to every other member of their administration. Under former President Barack Obama, there were six complaints about possible violations in eight years. Under Donald Trump, there have been “at least eight” complaints in just over one year.

And why wouldn’t Trump staff discard the Hatch Act, when the New York Times reports “That number has put the Trump White House on a pace to far surpass the complaints against the staff of his predecessor.” Guys, the Trump White House has in one year surpassed by one-third the complaints against his predecessor’s staff over eight years. It’s already far! Why, also, wouldn’t the Trump staff discard the Hatch Act when violations that are verified by the Office of Special Counsel get referred for discipline to … Donald Trump. Kellyanne Conway is the aide who was referred for discipline she’ll never receive, after she repeatedly used her official position to promote Roy Moore’s Senate run in Alabama. But she’s not alone:

At the same time, the office received a complaint against Mr. Kushner for having briefed White House officials during a staff meeting in the West Wing about Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, and its recent hire of Brad Parscale to lead the effort. It was the second Hatch Act complaint lodged against Mr. Kushner in two weeks, after one that cited his use of his White House title on a Trump campaign news release announcing Mr. Parscale’s position. […]

Since Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the Office of Special Counsel has found violations by at least three officials, including Ms. Conway. It issued a warning letter to Mr. Scavino for a tweet calling for the defeat in a primary of Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, who had been critical of the president. And it reported last year that Nikki R. Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, had breached the Hatch Act in June by retweeting Mr. Trump’s endorsement of a South Carolina congressional candidate.

In fact, not only is Conway unlikely to be disciplined, but the White House has taken the position that her clear-cut Hatch Act violations aren’t violations at all:

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