Update: CREW received documents back from HUD in response to the request about her intentions to film a reality TV show. It was reported in March that Patton reached out to HUD officials for ethics advice about her involvement, and the full memo shows was just how far she was willing to go to outmaneuver federal ethical laws, which cap outside income at $28,000. The records show that Patton requested taking a 2 month leave of absence, or even temporarily resigning on the condition that she be rehired 2 months later. It is clear from the questions Patton asked HUD ethics officials that in pursuing her reality TV show, she was willing to prioritize her personal profits over public service, at least for two months.
March 8, 2019
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Lynne Patton’s is planning on participating in a reality TV show while serving as a high-ranking federal official. New of her intentions broke after her appearance in Congress during Michael Cohen’s testimony on February 27, 2019, and Congressman Meadow’s use of Patton to defend President Trump against allegations of racism. She reportedly consulted the HUD ethics office about her ability to engage in such outside employment. CREW requested records about Patton’s request to participate in a reality show, including communications with HUD’s ethics office.
Patton’s intent to participate in a reality TV show raises a number of ethics issues given the prohibition on her earning any outside income if the subject matter of the show is related to her HUD job or if she was offered the opportunity because of her official position. The requested records would shed light on the extent to which HUD knew about or approved her participation in a reality TV show and whether she accurately represented the nature of her appearance and its relationship to her HUD position.
Patton has a long history of work with the Trump family, working previously as Vice President of the Eric Trump Foundation and Senior Assistant to Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump, Jr. In May 2018, CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint against Patton for partisan activity on Twitter. Blurring the lines between political activity and official government positions has become a pattern in the Trump administration, so there is significant public interest in whether this is yet another example of such ethical lapses
Read the request here.