Oversight Committee Probes Potential White House Hatch Act Violations

Published: Mar 19, 2014

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent letters yesterday pressing the White House on potential Hatch Act violations.  In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Issa questioned whether the White House, through the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, is using taxpayer money improperly to advance the interests of Democratic Congressional candidates and the Democratic Party.  In a separate letter to the head of U.S. Office of Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, Issa requested information regarding the involvement of former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at a political fundraiser supporting President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, also in possible violation of the Hatch Act.

“The Hatch Act requires a clear dichotomy between the constitutional and statutory duties officials and any political or campaign-related activities in which they engage,” said Issa in the letter to Denis McDonough.  The letter continues: “Unfortunately, it appears the White House has determined it is appropriate to use taxpayer money in an effort to achieve electoral success.”

The letter cites then-presidential candidate Senator Obama, who stated during the 2008 presidential election cycle that, “the days of using the White House as another arm of the Republican National Committee are over.”

The White House reinstated the Office of Political Affairs (OPA) in January for the purpose of “defending Democratic control of the Senate and taking back the House from Republicans.”  The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) previously notified the Committee that the White House failed to consult with OSC regarding reopening the OPA despite a 2011 OSC report that found the basic structure of the OPA violated federal law and that the political activities of OPA staff amounted to a misuse of taxpayer funds.

Click here to read the letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Click here to read the letter to Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner.

Click here for the 2011 Office of Special Counsel report concluding that the White House Office of Political Affairs unlawfully used taxpayer funds for political purposes.