December 4, 2018

The Trump administration has a pattern of mixing official government positions with partisan political advocacy, and the problem is severe enough that a string White House staffers were recently found in violation of the law.

On November 30, 2018, Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that six out of ten Hatch Act complaints that CREW filed in August resulted in reprimands. CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to understand the rationale for certain Hatch Act decisions, and new OSC guidelines.

Four of the complaints filed in August did not amount to violations, according to the OSC. In Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s case, when he used the term “MAGAnomics,” OSC decided that it was not “for the purpose of affecting the result of an election but rather to further the Administration’s economic agenda.” It seems that OSC had never before released an opinion on executive branch officials’ use of the term, so CREW requested all records and advice about the use of “MAGAnomics” and compliance with the Hatch Act.

Three days before OSC responded to CREW’s ten Hatch Act complaints, they issued guidance about expressions criticism or praise of the administration, impeachment, and use of the term “resist.” CREW requested documents that will shed light on OSC’s rationale for the policy and who OSC consulted.

Read the FOIA request here.