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White House Press Secretary Warned for Hatch Act Violation: The Case of "MAGA Republicans"

15/06/2023 à 13:04:06

- history8 months

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre received a warning from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Act by using the term "MAGA Republicans," but no disciplinary action was taken due to a lack of clarity on the matter.

The investigation into White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's remarks was initiated in response to a complaint filed by a group called Protect the Public's Trust. The complaint alleged that Jean-Pierre used her position to advocate for the defeat of her partisan political opponents and made derogatory remarks about Republicans during a White House press briefing just days before the 2022 election. The group asked the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to investigate the matter and impose appropriate penalties.

The OSC, which is an independent federal agency responsible for enforcing the Hatch Act, concluded that Jean-Pierre did violate the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election. However, despite finding a violation, the OSC decided not to pursue disciplinary action against Jean-Pierre and instead issued her a warning letter.

The OSC's decision was based on the fact that the White House Counsel's Office, at the time of the remarks, did not believe that Jean-Pierre's comments were prohibited by the Hatch Act. The OSC's position on the use of the term "MAGA Republicans" was unclear and may not have been conveyed to Jean-Pierre. As a result, the warning letter served as a notice to Jean-Pierre about the violation, but no further action was taken.

Jean-Pierre responded to the findings by describing the OSC's action as "retroactive" since she and the White House were not aware of the OSC's opinion when they were given the green light to make the comments in question. She indicated that the White House Counsel's Office is reviewing their opinion in light of the warning letter and plans to have a dialogue with the OSC.

It's worth noting that the term "MAGA" has been used in various contexts within the White House, including an official release earlier in the year where the Biden administration referred to the "extreme MAGA Republican" contingent in the House. The perception and reception of the term "MAGA" vary among individuals, and not all conservatives view it negatively.

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