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Ethics Complaint Filed Against Jen Psaki With Office of Special Counsel

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A government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against White House press secretary Jen Psaki accusing her of violating the Hatch Act.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel calling for an investigation into whether Psaki violated the Hatch Act when she appeared to endorse Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during a press briefing.

Psaki said from the White House podium: “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”

“The last administration systematically co-opted the government for the president’s reelection. While this conduct does not come close to rising to the level of the outrageous offenses of the Trump administration, that does not mean we should be casual about compliance with an important ethics law,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

“The Biden administration should not follow the Trump administration down that path.”

Just how bad is it for team Biden? CREW is a liberal outfit. They filed complaints against Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kayleigh McEnany, Hogan Gidley, Mark Meadows, and others in the Trump admin.

Kayleigh McEnany said: “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.”

Only one person in recent memory was busted abusing the law, a Trump official Lynne Patton.

From CNN April 6, 2021:

A former Housing and Urban Development official and Trump family associate has been fined and barred from federal work for violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition of use of official authority after she blurred the lines between official business and politics by producing a video for the 2020 Republican convention.

The US Office of Special Counsel announced Tuesday that Lynne Patton had “improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign in violation of the Hatch Act” when she was HUD regional administrator and that she had admitted to violating the act when she produced a video about housing conditions for the Republican National Convention. In the settlement agreement, Patton will receive a $1,000 civil fine and is prevented from working as a federal employee for 48 months.

“As a HUD employee, Patton received permission in early 2019 to temporarily live in and observe living conditions in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA),” OSC said in a statement.

“During her approximately one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration.”

Patton told CNN she doesn’t regret making the video and denied that residents were “tricked.”