Oversight Committee Leaders Refer Reports of Multiple Hatch Act Violations During GOP Convention for Investigation

Sep 3, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 3, 2020)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Committee Member Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett sent a letter asking the independent Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to investigate reports of multiple, repeated violations of the Hatch Act by the Trump Administration during the Republican National Convention last week.

“Throughout the Convention, Administration officials repeatedly used their official positions and the White House itself to bolster President Trump’s reelection campaign,” the Members wrote.  “We are alarmed that President Trump and some senior Administration officials are actively undermining compliance with—and respect for—the law.”

Numerous Administration officials used their official positions and government property and resources for partisan political purposes during the Convention, including:

  • Video of a pardon and naturalization ceremony with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and employees of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • A convention speech by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo while he was on official travel abroad.
  • Multiple segments filmed on federal property, including President Trump speaking with former hostages and people impacted by coronavirus.
  • A segment in which Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Lynne M. Patton interviewed New York City tenants who later explained they were not aware that they would be used at the Convention.
  • Vice President Mike Pence’s filmed segment and Convention keynote address, raising serious questions about the use of White House employees and resources and U.S. National Park Service’s role in coordinating and executing Convention programming.

“We are particularly concerned with the consequences of White House actions on career employees who may have felt pressured to help organize and put on these events, potentially subjecting them to legal jeopardy,’ the Members added.  “Career employees have faced severe consequences for behavior far less egregious than what the country witnessed last week.”

President Trump reportedly “enjoyed the frustration and anger” in response to holding Convention events on the White House grounds and “relished the fact” that he could not be stopped, according to President Trump’s aides.  He reportedly “joked he would excuse anyone found to be violating the act on his behalf.”  

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly stated:  “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares,” and another Administration official explained, “What are the consequences?  No one gets punished.”

“As the Committee of jurisdiction over the Hatch Act, we urge you to investigate and publicly report whether any of the actions taken by Administration officials during the Convention violated the law,” the Members concluded.

The Members requested a response to today’s letter by September 17, 2020.

Click here to read today’s letter.


116th Congress