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Office of Special Counsel Determines Biden Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Violated Federal Law

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been ever-so-gently reprimanded for politicking from the podium.

The Office of Special Counsel last week ruled that Jean-Pierre’s attack on the “Make America Great Again” wing of the Republican Party — largely associated with former President Donald Trump — violated the Hatch Act, according to NBC News. The Hatch Act seeks to prevent federal employees from using their official positions for political purposes.

Jean-Pierre attacked that group prior to the 2022 midterm elections (and has continued to do so with regularity).

“Unfortunately, we have seen mega MAGA Republican officials who don’t believe in the rule of law,” she said in the Nov. 2 comment that triggered the complaint against her. “They refuse to accept the results of free and fair elections and they fan the flames of political violence through what they praise and what they refuse to condemn. It remains important for the president to state strongly and unequivocally that violence has no place in our democracy.”

The complaint was filed Nov. 3 by the watchdog organization Protect the Public’s Trust.

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In a letter Wednesday to the group’s director, Michael Chamberlain, Ana Galindo‐Marrone, who leads the OSC’s Hatch Act Unit, wrote, “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.”

But despite the finding, Galindo‐Marrone said, “we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and have instead issued Ms. Jean‐Pierre a warning letter.”

The letter said Jean-Pierre “used the phrase ‘MAGA Republicans’ repeatedly during official press briefings prior to the November 2022 midterm election.”

“Although Ms. Jean‐Pierre never expressly instructed viewers to vote for or against Republican candidates for elected office, OSC concluded that the timing, frequency, and content of Ms. Jean‐Pierre’s references to ‘MAGA Republicans’ established that she made those references to generate opposition to Republican candidates. Accordingly, making the references constituted political activity,” it said.

Should Karine Jean-Pierre be punished for violating the Hatch Act?

The letter said that “we have decided to close this matter without further action.”

By way of explanation, the letter said that “the White House Counsel’s Office did not at the time believe that Ms. Jean‐Pierre’s remarks were prohibited by the Hatch Act, and it is unclear whether OSC’s contrary analysis regarding the use of ‘MAGA Republicans’ was ever conveyed to Ms. Jean‐Pierre.”

Getting tough will take place the next time, Galindo‐Marrone said.

“We have advised Ms. Jean‐Pierre that should she again engage in prohibited political activity, OSC would consider it a knowing and willful violation of the law that could result in OSC pursuing disciplinary action,” the letter said.

Chamberlain derided the letter, according to NBC News.

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“This episode illustrates exactly what people hate about Washington, DC and why they increasingly distrust the Biden Administration’s promises to be the most ethical in history,” he said in a statement.

“The Hatch Act was a law used to pillory previous administrations but officials now appear content to sweep it under the rug,” Chamberlain said, referring to multiple complaints about Hatch Act violations made during the Trump administration.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, “As has been made clear throughout the administration, we take the law seriously and uphold the Hatch Act. We are reviewing this opinion.”

Other Hatch Act violations in the Biden administration took place when Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra made a public show of support for Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of California and when former Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted a political message using his official Twitter account.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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