March 8, 2018
This letter supplements Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (“CREW”) February 27, 2018 request that the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) investigate whether Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President Jared Kushner violated the Hatch Act by using his official title and position in a campaign press release in which he praised President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager.
CREW respectfully requests that OSC also consider whether additional comments made by Mr. Kushner about the 2020 campaign manager in a White House staff meeting constitutes a violation of the Hatch Act.
The Washington Post reported that Mr. Kushner briefed senior staff on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, during a White House staff meeting on the selection of Brad Parscale to be the 2020 campaign manager. According to the Post, Mr. Kushner indicated that Mr. Parscale was chosen because of his “digital savvy, and also stressed that Parscale has the full support of the president and his family.” The Post noted that it is “unusual for government officials to openly discuss campaign politics in a White House staff meeting. ”
To the extent that Mr. Kushner attended the meeting in his official capacity, he may have violated this prohibition. Further, to the extent that subordinates were in attendance at the meeting and were not provided an opportunity to leave, they may have been “coerced” into participating in political activity. In addition, non-EOP employees are barred from engaging in political activity while on duty, in uniform, or in a government building.10 Therefore, additional facts need to be ascertained for your office to determine whether any such employees participated in the meeting and, if so, whether any additional violations may have occurred.
The OSC has found a number of violations of the Hatch Act by White House advisors and senior administration officials over the past year, including violations by Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway, Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr., and United Nations Representative Nikki Haley. As a result, Mr. Kushner’s conduct may be viewed as part of a systematic failure on the part of the administration to comply with its legal requirements under the Hatch Act. We encourage you to fully investigate and take every appropriate measure to ensure White House staff and administration officials are in compliance with the Hatch Act.
Click here to read the complaint.