Six Trump White House officials have been reprimanded for violating the Hatch Act by using their government Twitter accounts to engage in partisan political activity, the Office of Special Counsel said Friday. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint against the officials for, among other offenses, posting tweets in support of President Trump’s campaign. OSC ruled that any future engagement in prohibited political activity will be considered “a willful and knowing violation of the law, which could result in further action.” CREW expressed concern that the ruling is weak. “Warnings have not been enough to deter Trump Administration officials from using their official positions to engage in partisan political activity in direct violation of the law,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder.
The six Trump Administration officials cited for Hatch Act violations are: Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, Deputy Director of Communications Jessica Ditto, Executive Assistant to the President Madeleine Westerhout, former Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferré, Press Secretary for Vice President Mike Pence Alyssa Farah, and OMB Deputy Communications Director Jacob Wood. As noted in CREW’s complaints, these officials posted tweets on their official government accounts supporting Trump’s candidacy, including the Trump campaign slogans “Make America Great Again” or “#MAGA.”