(VitalNews.org) – The White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has been warned by the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – an organization whose primary job is to focus on the ethics of federal employees – that her partisan attacks on Republicans represent a breach of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in partisan politics.
The Office of Special Counsel investigated a complaint that Ms. Jean-Pierre had been using inappropriate phrases designed to influence the audience and viewers of her official press briefings. In a letter to the Washington Post, the OSC said that they had found that frequent references to “MAGA Republicans” had been used by Ms. Jean-Pierre in the run-up to the mid-term elections in November 2022.
The OSC emphasized that while Ms. Jean-Pierre refrained from expressly instructing her audience to vote for or against a particular Republican candidate, the content, frequency, and timing of her references to “MAGA republicans” had the effect of generating antipathy or opposition to Republican candidates. This constituted political activity in contravention of the Hatch Act.
The OSC decided that it was not necessary to take further disciplinary action at this time, and they accepted that the White House had perhaps not made it clear to Ms. Jean-Pierre that her remarks constituted a violation of the Hatch Act. However, if Ms. Jean-Pierre made similar remarks in the future, said the OSC, those remarks would be treated as a deliberate violation of the Hatch Act and Ms. Jean-Pierre would be subject to the appropriate penalties.
Critics of Ms. Jean-Pierre have noted that while she has been unafraid to criticize Republicans using her partisan remarks, she is certainly aware of the Hatch Act as she makes frequent reference to it whenever she is asked awkward questions about Democrats or the activities of the Biden administration. She has declined to answer such questions on the grounds that her answers might expose her to charges of partisan politics.
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