Office of Special Counsel Confirms Top Trump Aide Violated Federal Law

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has officially determined that Trump aide Dan Scavino violated the Hatch Act in an April tweet.

Ana Galindo-Marrone, who is the Hatch Act Unit chief for the OSC, sent a letter in response to an ethics complaint filed by the nonpartisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) affirming that OSC believes Scavino, who is the social media director for the White House and is charged with running the @POTUS Twitter account, violated the Hatch Act of 1939. While Scavino will not be prosecuted, he could face disciplinary action under 5 U.S. Code § 1215, which describes actions that can be taken by the OSC.

“Specifically, you alleged that on April 1, 2017, Mr. Scavino, while invoking his official position at the White House posted a tweet calling for the defeat of Representative Justin Amash in a primary election,” Galindo-Marrone wrote in her response to CREW. “OSC has concluded that this activity violated the Hatch Act.”

Should Scavino engage in an additional violation of the Hatch Act, the OSC could file an official complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board, and based on the board’s recommendation, Scavino could face:

(i) disciplinary action consisting of removal, reduction in grade, debarment from Federal employment for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, or reprimand;

(ii) an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000; or

(iii) any combination of disciplinary actions described under clause (i) and an assessment described under clause (ii).

The Hatch Act of 1939, named after Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico, stipulates that no White House employee aside from the President, Vice President, and other top-level White House officials can engage in political activity in the capacity of their position.

 

Jamie Green is a contributor to the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives i Ann Arbor, Michigan.