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White House Spokespeople Violate Hatch Act by Using “MAGA” Term, Watchdog Finds

According to an independent watchdog agency, two top White House spokespeople have been found to have violated the Hatch Act by repeatedly using the term “MAGA” to describe certain Republicans.

The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), responsible for enforcing limitations on political activity by government employees, stated that the spokespeople, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, failed to comply with the law when criticizing “MAGA” Republicans in relation to their budget proposal in June.

The Hatch Act restricts the involvement of government employees in political activities.

Credit: DepositPhotos

The OSC’s letter, reported by a reputable news source, revealed that Jean-Pierre and Bates contravened the law by using the term “MAGA” on June 14, even after Jean-Pierre had been warned by the OSC not to use it. The OSC clarified that the use of “MAGA” is deemed political activity since it serves as the campaign slogan for a candidate seeking office.

However, as neither spokesperson has used the term since mid-June, the OSC stated that it would be closing its investigation. The OSC made it clear that it reserved the right to reopen the case should the need arise.

Michael Chamberlain, the head of “Protect the Public’s Trust,” a conservative government watchdog group, expressed disappointment in the OSC’s decision. He criticized Jean-Pierre for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act despite working for an administration that claims to be the most ethical in history.

Credit: DepositPhotos

Chamberlain questioned the enforcement of the law, stating that statements claiming that “no one is above the law” seemed to exclude certain individuals like Jean-Pierre.

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A spokesperson from the White House stated that they take the Hatch Act seriously and adhere to it. However, Bates recently used the term “MAGA” in reference to “MAGAnomics” in a statement on Monday. The OSC has clarified that this use of the term does not violate the Hatch Act, as it was initially employed by the Trump administration to brand their economic policies.

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The Hatch Act has previously been a point of contention during the Trump administration, with senior officials such as Kellyanne Conway and Peter Navarro facing allegations of violations. The OSC also reported multiple violations of the act by over a dozen high-ranking Trump officials leading up to the 2020 elections.

Nonetheless, the OSC has limited jurisdiction and rarely takes action against top officials for Hatch Act violations.

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