CONTACT: Jenna Grande
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington—Less than 24 hours after the first presidential debate, Assistant to the President and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro repeatedly violated the Hatch Act during an appearance on MSNBC and on social media, according to a complaint sent today to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). This violation is the latest in a series of Navarro’s “egregious, notorious, and ongoing” Hatch Act violations, and his contempt for the law and repeated abuse of his position warrants his resignation or termination from federal service.
Over the course of the last several months, Navarro has participated in numerous interviews in his official capacity, during which he repeatedly made politically-charged statements in support of President Trump’s re-election campaign or against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Navarro has also abused the law and his privileges on social media sites like Twitter, where he has used his official government account not only to promote official government business but also to air political views and support the President’s reelection bid. His actions are similar to those by Kellyanne Conway and others that OSC has previously found to be violations of the Hatch Act by using their official authority or position for political purposes.
“Americans now broadly recognize that federal law, and specifically the Hatch Act, bar officials from using their government position for politics and campaigning, and yet that has not stopped senior officials like Peter Navarro from acting as if they are above the law,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Following his repeated and brazen law violations, Navarro should resign his post immediately, and if he doesn’t, OSC should follow its own precedent and recommend that he be terminated from his position.”
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.”
“This administration has increasingly sought to use all the resources of the federal government to keep the president in power, including by having officials like Peter Navarro repeatedly use their positions to explicitly promote President Trump’s re-election on Twitter and in his media interviews,” said Bookbinder. “Mr. Navarro’s resignation, or an OSC recommendation that he be fired, will be an important step to halt these anti-democratic abuses and the misuse of taxpayer resources.”
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. Following CREW’s complaints against Kellyanne Conway, OSC took the unprecedented step of recommending she be removed from federal service in a scathing report detailing her numerous ethics violations.