CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington – By participating in a naturalization ceremony in his official capacity at the White House that appears to have been designed to support President Trump’s re-election campaign during the Republican National Convention, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf was in clear violation of the Hatch Act, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
Using his title of “acting Secretary,” notwithstanding the fact the the Senate-confirmed Under Secretary has been found to be improperly serving in the higher role, Chad Wolf made remarks and administered an oath of allegiance at the ceremony attended by President Trump and broadcast as part of that night’s RNC festivities. @TeamTrump, the “official Twitter for the Trump Campaign,” posted the video with the hashtag #RNC2020.
“Thousands of Americans across the country saw this stunt and asked, ‘isn’t there a law against this?’ The answer is yes, there is, the Hatch Act,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “The Hatch Act isn’t some nebulous, technical code buried deep in some federal manual, it’s the law meant to keep officials from using taxpayer dollars and the authorities of the federal government to keep themselves in power, as totalitarian regimes do.”
The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from “us[ing their] official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” “Political activity” is defined as “an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”
“OSC took the unprecedented step to call for the removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal service for her egregious violations of the Hatch Act,” Bookbinder said. “We commend OSC for that bold action and hope they will continue to investigate and advocate for the enforcement of one of our nation’s key ethics laws, particularly when there are important and egregious violations like Wolf’s actions appear to be.”
CREW’s complaints have led to an unprecedented number of Trump administration officials being reprimanded for Hatch Act violations, including Dan Scavino, Nikki Haley, Stephanie Grisham, Raj Shah, Jessica Ditto, Madeleine Westerhout, Helen Aguirre Ferre, Alyssa Farah, Jacob Wood, Kellyanne Conway and Lynne Patton.