This is getting to be banana republic stuff.
Less than a week after former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned from his post after a series of investigations by different federal agencies comes word that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened a case file into Pruitt’s former boss, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The crime Zinke is accused of? Wearing a pair of “Make America Great Again” socks, and posting a picture of them on Twitter.
According to CNN, the file was opened after the Campaign for Accountability – one of those “nonpartisan” watchdog groups that only seems to be watching Republicans – complained about Zinke’s footwear.
Zinke has since deleted the tweet, according to CNN. But, as The Daily Caller noted, the Campaign for Accountability was so outraged by the socks that it tweeted out its own image of the offensive stocking, just so Americans would never forget what Ryan Zinke wore to the 2018 Western Governors’ Association meeting in South Dakota.
— Campaign for Accountability (@Accountable_Org) June 26, 2018
As the website Law & Crime notes, Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative agency that investigates violations of federal whistleblowers’ rights, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act and the Hatch Act. Despite the similarity in names, it’s not involved with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “Russia collusion” by the Trump administration.
But considering the Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, obviously liberals are stopping at nothing to find some means – any means – to use the power of the federal government to attack the president who’s supposed to be in charge of the executive branch.
As it turns out, according to CNN, Zinke’s socks ran afoul of a legal opinion issued by the Office of Special Counsel that determined that administration employees wearing “Make America Great Again” regalia on duty were violating the Hatch Act, a federal law meant to curb electioneering activities by government employees on government time.
According to CNN, the opinion stated: “While on duty or in the workplace, employees may not: wear, display, or distribute items with the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ or any other materials from President Trump’s 2016 or 2020 campaigns; use hashtags such as #MAGA or #ResistTrump in social media posts or other forums; or display non-official pictures of President Trump.”
So, the socks Zinke wore to go on a hike were clearly out of line. (Considering he posted a picture of them on social media for the whole world to see, it’s pretty obvious Zinke wasn’t aware he was violating the law.)
Zinke not only scrubbed the offending tweet from his account, he also apologized in another Twitter post, which was also deleted, CNN reported, based on the Campaign for Accountability’s complaint.
“Earlier I tweeted a pic of my new socks not realizing it had what could be viewed as a political slogan. I’ve deleted it and apologize for the mistake. I remain excited about all the incredible policy work POTUS is doing,” Zinke wrote in the tweet, which had the same picture with the “Make America Great Again” text blocked out, according to CNN.
Even assuming the socks, and the Twitter post, violated the Hatch Act, it’s clear to just about anyone other than a hyperpartisan Trump hater that there was no harm done. But the Office of Special Counsel has a file opened on the matter?
So far, it isn’t clear whether the Campaign for Accountability’s complaint will lead to an actual investigation by the Office of Special Counsel – God only knows what else might turn up about Zinke’s socks. But just the knowledge that administration critics are willing to stoop so low – literally – to find some way of attacking Trump or his cabinet is disquieting. (This isn’t the only underhanded attack on Zinke, either.)
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia collusion” investigation – which has produced no public evidence of collusion after more than a year – is witch hunt enough for a country with a system of government that was established by the genius of men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison.
When the Office of Special Counsel is looking at an interior secretary’s socks, it’s headed into banana republic territory.
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