Washington, D.C. (Aug. 13, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) responded to the Committee’s inquiry seeking an advisory opinion the Hatch Act risks of President Trump giving his convention speech at the White House:
"As this guidance from the Office of Special Counsel makes clear, President Trump's idea to host this campaign event at the White House raises serious legal concerns for White House employees. While President Trump has ignored the law repeatedly throughout his time in office, surely he can find a way to accept the Republican nomination without putting federal employees in legal jeopardy."
The Office of Special Counsel’s opinion warned of the legal risks to most White House employees if the President held a campaign event at the White House:
- “While it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of permitted or prohibited activities, the following are relevant examples. For one, most White House employees are subject to the Hatch Act’s prohibition against engaging in political activity while on duty or in a federal room or building. Therefore, these employees would not be able to assist with an RNC event while they are on duty or in a federal room or building. They also would not be able to attend the event while on duty. But, if the employees take leave, and the event is held on the White House lawn or in the residence, the Hatch Act would not prohibit the employees from attending the event. If, however, the event is held in the West Wing or in another area of the White House that is regarded as a federal room or building for purposes of the Hatch Act, the law would prohibit the employees from attending the event at any time, even while off-duty.”
- The Office of Special Counsel also emphasized that “all White House employees, including White House Commissioned Officers, are subject to the prohibition against using their official authority or influence to affect an election. Accordingly, Hatch Act concerns could arise if White House employees who are supervisors were to task subordinate staff with work in support of the political event.”
Click here to read the letter from the Office of Special Counsel.