Washington — The Office of Special Counsel found that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki violated the Hatch Act while speaking from the White House Briefing Room in October, according to a letter sent to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. As Psaki admitted to the violation and has since modified her statements to comply with the Act, the letter does not come as a surprise.
In the letter, OSC notes that Psaki “has publicly accepted responsibility for her statements, voiced her commitment to ethics, and has since handled similar questions from the press in an appropriate way.” When CREW files Hatch Act complaints, the goal is not to reprimand officials, but to change behavior and promote compliance. Through that lens, Psaki has had an exemplary response to the complaint.
“Following our Hatch Act complaint, Psaki was quick to publicly admit her error and sincerely apologize. She took responsibility for her conduct, committed to changing, and demonstrated that commitment the next time a similar opportunity came up,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “We are also satisfied that the Office of Special Counsel took the appropriate action to address her behavior after we noted it. We are pleased with how this matter has been resolved.”
In October, CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint against Psaki after she made a statement endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia in her official capacity from the podium in the White House Briefing Room. After expressing her remorse and her assertion that she “learned her lesson” regarding compliance with the Hatch Act, CREW sent a follow up letter to OSC to inform them of her subsequent statements.