Biden’s top aide is admonished for violating the Hatch Act

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s chief of staff broke the law by retweeting a political message on his government Twitter account, and they sent him a warning letter, according to a memo from the Office of Special Counsel. Top aide Ron Klain “got it wrong this time” and will be more careful, the White House said Thursday.

The memo dated Wednesday said Klain violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from using their official role to influence elections, including supporting candidates, while acting in their official capacity. Klain’s message retweeted on May 22 by STRIKE PAC, a Democratic group, was about delivering infant formula to Americans. But the message also included the exhortation, “Get your Democrats to deliver the goods today!”

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Klain removed the retweet as soon as he was notified of the complaint. No disciplinary action will be taken and the office, an independent government watchdog that monitors violations of the Hatch Act, considers the matter closed. Klain warned to be more careful in the future.

The conservative legal group America First Legal, led by Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, complained about the tweet and sought an investigation.

Miller and at least a dozen other former Trump administration officials have repeatedly violated that same lawwithout consequence and with Trump’s approval, as part of a “willful disregard for the Hatch Act,” the Office of Special Counsel found in 2021. The office investigated comments made by Trump officials leading up to the 2020 presidential election, including the Republican National Convention the , which took place in the White House in a major break from historical norms.

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The press secretary of the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that “we are not perfect, but our violations were few.”

“Ron is very careful and takes the Hatch Act very seriously in his media appearances and his use of Twitter, but he got it wrong this time,” he said. “He fixed it as soon as it was pointed out and took the warning to be taken more seriously.”

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Jean-Pierre often cites the Hatch Act to deflect political questions during news briefings. Earlier this week he was asked if Biden was doing everything he could to get Democrats across the finish line in the Nov. 8 election.

“I have to be careful what I say, because we are enforcing the Hatch Act in this administration,” he said.


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