Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) and other Democrats have accused White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany of violating the HATCH Act. Cohen retweeted an article from The New York Times that accused McEnany of breaking the law.
“Kayleigh McEnany’s violations of the #HatchAct would be a scandal in any other administration,” wrote Cohen. “Grifters and miscreants. Utterly appalling. #CultureOfCorruption”
The Hatch Act delineates the authorized and prohibited political activity for federal employees. However, the law allows employees to “take an active part in political management or in political campaigns” as long as they aren’t using their official authority or influence. It also allows employees to express their political opinions.
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) October 29, 2020
Formally titled the “Hatch Act of 1939, An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities,” the law passed after President Franklin D. Roosevelt allegedly pressured federal employees into working on his allies’ campaigns.
If an individual were to violate the Hatch Act, they may be subject to removal from their position, demotion, suspension, or a fine up to $1,000.
McEnany has appeared as a “Trump 2020 senior campaign adviser” on Fox News as Election Day nears – not via her role as press secretary. Under this capacity, McEnany has advocated for President Trump and discussed the controversy surrounding Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and China.
The Times pointed out one appearance in which McEnany came onto Fox as both a press secretary and senior campaign adviser. In that appearance, McEnany responded to questions about Biden’s promise to ban fracking and expand the Supreme Court, as well as COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Otherwise, the article asserted that McEnany and the Trump administration were “blurring the lines between government and political activity.”
Most recently, McEnany appeared as a campaign adviser on Fox to discuss Trump’s operation that rescued an American hostage in Nigeria. McEnany also emphasized how the Biden campaign trail has targeted historically blue states like Minnesota in the last weeks leading up to the election.
In the Times article, White House spokesperson Sarah Matthews stated that McEnany appeared “in her personal capacity as a private citizen” on a voluntary basis.
Cohen hasn’t yet stated if he will file a Hatch Act complaint against McEnany.
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