The Office of Special Counsel reports that Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff under Democratic President Joe Biden, was found guilty of breaking the Hatch Act.
Klain was told of his breach by Ana Galindo-Marrone, head of the OSC’s Hatch Act Unit, but she chose not to punish the top Biden administration official.
Klain received a smack on the wrist as an alternative.
Galindo-Marrone did issue a warning, stating that if Klain did it again, the OSC would view it as a willful violation and penalize him.
Galindo-Marrone said, “Although OSC has concluded that Mr. Klain violated the Hatch Act, as explained below, we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and instead issued him a warning letter.”
According to Galindo-Marrone, Klain “retweeted a message from Strike PAC (@StrikePAC) on May 22, 2022 from his official Twitter account (@WHCOS).
“The tweet read, ‘Operation Fly Formula delivers 70,000 pounds of infant formula for American mothers and their infants. Thank you @POTUS.”
“The tweet also read, ‘Get your Democrats Deliver merch today!’ and included a link to Strike PAC’s online store and an image of the group’s ‘Democrats Deliver’ tshirt.”
The entire letter to the Trump-supporting group that made the complaint reads as follows:
This letter responds to a complaint you filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) alleging that White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain violated the Hatch Act when he retweeted a message on his official Twitter account that solicited political contributions to a partisan political group.
Although OSC has concluded that Mr. Klain violated the Hatch Act, as explained below, we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and instead issued him a warning letter.
As White House Chief of Staff, Mr. Klain is subject to the provisions of the Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act prohibits employees from, among other things, using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election and knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions from any person.
An employee would violate these prohibitions while using social media by, for example, engaging in political activity on an official account or liking, sharing, or retweeting a post that solicits political contributions.
OSC confirmed that Mr. Klain retweeted a May 22, 2022 message from Strike PAC (@StrikePAC) from his official Twitter account (@WHCOS). The tweet read, “Operation Fly Formula delivers 70,000 pounds of infant formula for American mothers and their infants. Thank you @POTUS.” The tweet also read, “Get your Democrats Deliver merch today!” and included a link to Strike PAC’s online store and an image of the group’s “Democrats Deliver” tshirt.
Strike PAC is a partisan political group, and according to its website, it “supports campaign finance reform and will help elect Democrats who support these vital policies.”
More on this story via Slay News:
It also has a “nationalized strategy” aimed at promoting the Democratic Party by “tell[ing] stories of how Democrats deliver on their promises to improve the lives of voters.”
In this vein, Strike PAC’s message thanking President Biden served to further the group’s nationalized strategy of promoting Democrats as the party that delivers on its promises to voters. By retweeting this message, Mr. Klain used his official Twitter account to promote a partisan political group’s interests and, therefore, OSC has concluded that he violated the Hatch Act’s use of official authority prohibition.
In addition, Strike PAC’s tweet constituted a solicitation for political contributions because it encouraged others to buy the group’s merchandise. CONTINUE READING…