It became clear long ago that the establishment media have no interest in holding Democrats to the same standard they have for Republicans.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki potentially violated federal law in a room full of those establishment media members, and none of them even seemed to notice.
Washington Free Beacon reporter Matthew Foldi posted a video to Twitter showing Psaki essentially endorsing Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during her daily news briefing.
“Again, we’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing,” Psaki said.
“Another day, another possible Hatch Act violation” by the press secretary, Foldi said.
— Matthew Foldi (@MatthewFoldi) October 14, 2021
McAuliffe, who was governor from 2014 to 2018 and also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, holds a lead of less than 3 points over Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin with the Nov. 2 Virginia election approaching, according to the polling average from FiveThirtyEight.
The slim lead is certainly cause for concern among Psaki and the rest of the Biden administration in a state President Joe Biden won by 10 points in 2020.
Last month, Foldi posted a separate clip of Psaki seemingly endorsing California Gov. Gavin Newsom from the podium leading up to his recall election.
“Hopefully this will be helpful to the efforts of the governor,” Psaki said at the time of Biden’s visit to California.
Sounds like a WH employee advocating for the success or failure of a political candidate pic.twitter.com/0RtU9FE36O
— Matthew Foldi (@MatthewFoldi) September 9, 2021
According to the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel, the Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits federal executive branch employees from engaging in political activity while on duty.
The USOSC said the activity forbidden under this federal law includes any “activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”
By using her news briefings to express her support of certain candidates, there is certainly an argument to be made that Psaki is engaging in political activity while on duty.
Kayleigh McEnany, who held the same position under former President Donald Trump that Psaki now holds, said the conduct constitutes violations of the Hatch Act.
“Why does the media not hold @PressSec accountable for potential Hatch Act violations?” McEnany wrote on Twitter.
“She has twice advocated for political candidates from the podium. There is no problem in engaging in First Amendment political activity, but it must be done separate and apart from the podium.”
Why does the media not hold @PressSec accountable for potential Hatch Act violations? She has twice advocated for political candidates from the podium.
There is no problem in engaging in First Amendment political activity, but it must be done separate and apart from the podium. https://t.co/ICLldHRCgs
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) October 15, 2021
During the Trump administration, establishment media members routinely accused Trump staffers of violating the Hatch Act.
For example, when Trump announced his intentions to give his acceptance speech for the 2020 Republican nomination from the South Lawn of the White House, the Los Angeles Times published an Op-Ed accusing the administration of malpractice.
While Times contributor Erwin Chemerinsky admitted the Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice president, he said White House staffers would have to work to set up for and record the speech, which he said would violate the law.
While Trump’s decision to give the speech from the White House instead of another location likely did not give him any sort of political advantage, the media still jumped on him for it.
Meanwhile, Psaki’s use of her stage in front of a national audience to advocate for Democratic candidates certainly could provide an advantage simply because of the number of Americans she can reach with her message. The establishment media suddenly don’t seem to care.
This is not all that surprising given the media’s tendency to protect Democrats as much as possible. Even so, it is yet another misstep from the Biden administration for which it has not been held accountable.
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