Washington—The Office of Special Counsel has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Peter Navarro for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act, following complaints from CREW. OSC found that Navarro, an Assistant to the President and Director of the Office for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, violated the Hatch Act on multiple occasions when he engaged in political activity in his official capacity.
According to the finding, Navarro “committed these violations after having received training on the Hatch Act and, for most of the violations, while knowing that OSC was investigating him for engaging in the same prohibited political activity.”
“In an administration full of people illegally using their government positions to influence an election, Navarro has been one of the worst,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “We thank OSC for their thorough investigation and finding of Navarro’s repeated wrongdoing.”
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 filed several complaints against Navarro for violating the Hatch Act during multiple television appearances on Fox Business and MSNBC and on social media by repeatedly making politically-charged statements in support of President Trump’s reelection campaign and against Joe Biden.
“Navarro’s blatant violations of the Hatch Act are rivaled only by Kellyanne Conway,” Bookbinder said. “This isn’t about not knowing better, it is about a lack of interest in following the law, even when the cost to our democracy is severe.”
CREW’s complaints have led to an unprecedented number of Trump administration officials being reprimanded for Hatch Act violations, including Sonny Perdue, Dan Scavino, Nikki Haley, Stephanie Grisham, Raj Shah, Jessica Ditto, Madeleine Westerhout, Helen Aguirre Ferre, Alyssa Farah, Jacob Wood, Kellyanne Conway and Lynne Patton. Even in most of those instances, OSC did not refer the case for disciplinary action. The finding of repeated violations and the referral for action demonstrate the severity of Navarro’s misconduct. 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.