Democrat President Joe Biden’s White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been caught violating a law intended to prevent federal employees from using their offices to influence elections.
Jean-Pierre reportedly violated the law when she repeatedly called out “mega MAGA Republicans” before the 2022 midterms, a government watchdog agency said.
The Office of Special Counsel determined that Jean-Pierre’s rhetoric related to Republican candidates violated the Hatch Act.
“Because Ms. Jean‐Pierre made the statements while acting in her official capacity, she violated the Hatch Act prohibition against using her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election,” Ana Galindo‐Marrone, who leads the agency’s Hatch Act Unit, said.
But they are letting Jean‐Pierre off the hook rather than hold her to account.
“The Office of Special Counsel decided to close this matter without further action,” Galindo‐Marrone said,
“We have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and have instead issued Ms. Jean‐Pierre a warning letter.
“It is unclear whether OSC’s contrary analysis regarding the use of ‘MAGA Republicans’ was ever conveyed to Ms. Jean‐Pierre,” Galindo‐Marrone said.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said:
“As has been made clear throughout the administration, we take the law seriously and uphold the Hatch Act.
“We are reviewing this opinion.”
BREAKING 🚨 White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre violated a law designed to limit how officials engage in politics when she referred to “MAGA Republicans” ahead of the midterm elections, a government watchdog agency says – NBC
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) June 12, 2023
Exclusive: White House press sec. Karine Jean-Pierre violated a law designed to limit how officials engage in politics when she referred to “MAGA Republicans” ahead of the midterm elections, a government watchdog agency says. https://t.co/5IuDzyb57o
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 12, 2023
Karine Jean-Pierre: “This is a president that respects the rule of law … he’s restoring, certainly, the integrity of the Department of Justice” pic.twitter.com/5lMT8wNSQ4
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 12, 2023
According to NBC:
Recently, Jean-Pierre has cited the Hatch Act in declining to comment on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement that he would challenge Biden for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, telling reporters,
“It’s 2024 … I’m just not going to touch that with a 12-foot pole.”
She also used it to clarify an answer on whether Biden would serve all eight years in office if re-elected.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra violated the Hatch Act in 2022 when he expressed support for electing Sen. Alex Padilla to a full term at an event last fall, the Office of Special Counsel said in April of this year.
In October, Jean-Pierre acknowledged that Biden’s then-chief of staff Ron Klain, who retweeted a political message on his government Twitter account, had violated the Hatch Act.
She said that the White House takes the provision seriously but is “not perfect.”