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OSC Issues Hatch Act Report Documenting Violations by 13 Senior Trump Administration Officials, Including at the 2020 Republican National Conventio

“The U.S. Office of Special Counsel November 9, 2021 issued a report outlining the investigative findings of its career Hatch Act Unit staff in response to Hatch Act complaints filed with OSC regarding senior Trump administration officials’ participation in the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) and their political activities leading up to the presidential election. OSC received numerous complaints alleging Hatch Act violations at the RNC and the specter of political activity on White House grounds. In its report, however, OSC found that the Hatch Act, as written, does not prohibit political events from being held on certain White House grounds, nor would it broadly prohibit federal employees from participating. Further, then-President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael Pence were exempt from the Hatch Act’s restrictions.

OSC did find violations by 13 senior Trump administration officials, including two violations in connection with the 2020 RNC. The report outlines how the 13 officials used their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of the 2020 presidential election. Taken together, the report concludes that the violations demonstrate both a willingness by some in the Trump administration to leverage the power of the executive branch to promote President Trump’s reelection and the limits of OSC’s enforcement power. Though discipline is no longer possible once subjects leave government service, OSC is issuing this report to fully document the violations, highlight the enforcement challenges that OSC confronted in investigating the violations, and to deter similar violations in the future.  The full report can be found here…”

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