CONTACT: Jenna Grande
Washington—Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan appears to have violated the Hatch Act by criticizing Joe Biden’s stance on immigration and advocating for President Trump’s re-election on Fox and Friends, according to a complaint sent today to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Morgan spoke out against a Biden administration and praised President Trump’s stance on immigration while also warning viewers about potential threats to national security should Biden win the presidency.
Despite being identified with his official title and appearing on the news show in his official capacity, Morgan used Fox News host’s Pete Hesgeth questions as an opportunity to attack Biden and compare President Trump favorably to him, specifically referencing the upcoming election. Morgan told viewers, “what we need is an administration and a president that understands the importance of border security and that border security is national security.” Later on, Morgan brought up Biden’s stance on immigration, stating that “with that rhetoric that’s being stated right now [by Biden], you are sending a missile—message right now to the cartels and smugglers who are going to exploit that…And we’ve seen it before and we’re going to see it again. I can promise the American people that that’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to be in crisis 2.0.”
“This is an instance in which yet another Trump administration official has decided that the laws against misusing official positions for politics do not apply them,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Instead of appropriately just talking about government policy, Commissioner Morgan used a national platform to promote the president’s reelection, and OSC ought to quickly investigate his behavior to determine whether he violated the law.”
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.”
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 Conway be removed from federal service in a scathing report detailing her numerous ethics violations.