Workforce

White House official chided for violating Hatch Act

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The White House social media director has been chided by an independent federal watchdog agency for inappropriate use of his personal Twitter account.

Dan Scavino Jr.’s Twitter remarks urging the unseating of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) constituted a violation of the Hatch Act, according to the Office of Special Counsel.

The Hatch Act is a check against federal employees using their official positions to engage in partisan activities or political coercion in the workplace. Violators can be fired.

As a result of the violation, OSC issued Scavino a warning letter in response to the tweet.

News of the reprimand was transmitted to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington, which had filed a complaint against Scavino for the tweet.

“Mr. Scavino has been advised that if in the future he engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law, which could result in further action,” wrote Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act Unit.

On April 1, amid initial pushback in the House of Representatives on the GOP healthcare bill, Scavino, whose Twitter account at the time listed his official White House position and included a picture of him in the Oval Office, urged those aboard the "#TrumpTrain" to unseat Amash in the next primary, calling the congressman "a big liability."

Amash responded by tweeting, "Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment. Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers."

CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in response to the decision, "OSC has made clear with this ruling that they are going to enforce these important rules and work to keep the government free from inappropriate politics."

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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