A Major Hatch Act Violation? Officer Endorses Biden While In Uniform

There was a rare public violation by an officer in uniform this week when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was met by Major Ginger Tate of the U.S. Army National Guard Signal Corps . Tate proceeded to give Biden some ceremonial coins but then added “I hope and pray that you will be our next president.” This could present a novel problem for the White House. Normally, the White House could strongly object to the violation of the Hatch Act, but the Trump White House (and particularly adviser Kelly Anne Conway) has been a flagrant violator of the Act and refused to take actions against those violating the Act in favor of the President.

The scene was quickly picked up by conservative media sites. Tate states the following to Biden:

“I’ve been saving these coins for six years to meet you and President Obama so if that I ever met you, I would give it to you … and when I saw on the news that you were coming, I just had to be here. Thank you so much for your guidance … I’m so honored to have served under your administration and your leadership and I hope and pray that you will be our next president.”

It was a mistake and Major Tate should know better. We deeply value our apolitical military tradition. However, this seems an unguarded and ill-considered moment. A simple reprimand would seem sufficient. It is however an example of the cost of losing the high ground on ethics in the Trump White House. An objection under the Hatch Act from the White House would produce little beyond snickering and ridicule given its own violations.

46 thoughts on “A Major Hatch Act Violation? Officer Endorses Biden While In Uniform”

  1. Major Tate, U.S. Army National Guard Signal Corps

    There’s an Army National Guard unit right by me in NJ. They are 24X7X365.

    They have an engineering unit, Signal Corps unit, Military Police unit & big motor pool with tanks & helicopter landing pad. They were deployed during the Newark, NJ riots & after the 9/11 WTC terrorist attacks.

    Major Tate probably has a top secret security clearance with access to critical military communications, troop movement, weapons & explosives. The last time a Signal Corps Major got smoked out by Army CID, the major committed suicide rather than face a military court marshal trial. That was Ft. Bragg, NC.

  2. This is another example of how a simple reprimand would be more appropriate than a major repercussion like drumming her out of the military.

    1. This was not a private, this is a major in a leadership position. She is responsible to demonstrate sound judgment and maintain good order and discipline. Would you recommend the same simple reprimand for her and her subordinates when they all staggered back onto their post after a night of partying?

  3. Why should there be any repercussions for this woman if James Comey just simply walks away after his misdeeds.

  4. She’s not on active duty. Which means she drills one weekend per month and two weeks per year. The National Guard is fairly loose with the rules. In fact it was the PA Army National Guard that was responsible for the Abu Graib scandal, due to a complete lack of discipline in the ranks. She’ll likely get a reprimand due to the negative publicity, but she’s apparently not particularly concerned, in that she’s a part-timer who chose to don her uniform to attend a political rally. That alone indicates she doesn’t expect any negative consequences.

    1. She(?)’s in uniform, which puts her under the UCMJ. Of course, since she(?)’s *special* nothing will happen.

  5. She must have been impressed with Biden’s tale of daring and courage in Afghanistan where, when warned against the danger of flying bullets, declared, with steely jaw clenched, “We can lose a Vice President but we can’t lose these brave men!” I’m told he added” Damn the torpedoes”and “ I have not yet begun to fight.” Joe Mitty for President!

    1. “Look out! he cried, shoving them back to safety, determined to protect them all as a barrage of bullets hammered against the iron walls with a sharp, furious ta-pocketa, ta-pocketa, ta-pocketa.

  6. I agree with those who say this isn’t a major infraction of UCMJ or the Hatch Act (no pun intended). I’m sure the officer understood the constraints on her politrical speech while wearing the uniform. So let’s give her full credit for being a commissioned military officer with the full mental faculties of every other officer of her rank.

    Her CO ought to offer her non-judicial punishment (which could include a formal reprimand in writing, not much more than her name and that of the person delivering the reprimand, and “You have been reprimanded for… ” with a short description of what she did and the specific punitive article of UCMJ forbiddng it). It was not a thing she’s allowed to say while in uniform, but given who she was endorsing, won’t influence the election one way or the other. It takes an activist press for that.

    Confining her consequences to an NJP also deprives the press of the chance to blow this up into ‘l’affaire Dreyfus, as they would if she lost a step in rank or even just fined some pay. Let’s keep it real.

    1. Wups. Rank insignia on the front pocket flap. So she could well be fully “in uniform”.

    2. First of all, she identifies herself as Major in her presentation to Biden. She then identifies her unit. Additionally, her rank insignia (gold oak leaf)
      can be seen on the sternum patch. Her troubles have only just begun.

      Pick any one of these and she’s violated them. I like #3, 🙂
      j. Wearing Army uniforms is prohibited in the following situations:
      (1) In connection with the furtherance of any political or commercial interests, or when engaged in off-duty civilian employment.
      (2) When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except
      as authorized by competent authority.
      (3) When attending any meeting or event that is a function of, or is sponsored by, an extremist organization.
      (4) When wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the Army.
      (5) When specifically prohibited by Army regulations.

      1. I like #4. Kissing Biden’s ass while in uniform definitely “brings discredit on the Army.” 😹😹😹

    3. Excuse me, I just have to comment. You can’t “best…tell” anymore. I have never heard anything so s—– in my life. The definition of “soldier” is: One who obeys orders. That soldier absolutely has rank displayed on its uniform. How would troops know whom to take orders from? This woman, for example, if she is a cook, would have to know who was in charge of the mess hall and how many pancakes to whip up. Oops. I almost cursed. Benson, have you EVER been compelled to serve your country in harm’s way and at risk of death?

  7. “James Comey also broke government rules and policies according to IG Horowitz”

    CL, The “IG Report” is the new “alternative” adjudication process for corrupt governmental officials, aka the Deep Deep State. Governmental officials who have paid their dues and are in “good standing” with the Deep Deep State, are made to suffer “embarrassment” by the IG through his brutal administrative report then they are excused from formal criminal investigation and prosecution which commoners and the great unwashed are subject to.

    When you hear “IG,” you can know that the Deep Deep State has just exonerated and acquitted the individual or target.

    Case in point: Attorney General William Barr, Mr. Deep Deep State, just subjected James Comey to a damning and embarrassing IG investigation and report. Having been subjected to the exhaustive inquisition of the IG means that James Comey is now off scot-free and will not be prosecuted for egregious crimes of which his guilt is absolute and irrefutable.

    1. George, if these American hating Totalitarians azzholes like Comey, McCabe, Obama, Hillary, & hundred’s of other coup plotters don’t at least go to prison, most for life, this constitutional Republic govt has officially collapsed.

      Let that sink in for a moment for anyone reading this, the govt at this moment has collapsed unless something changes in just a few days.

      Get prepped now, water, storable food, etc…. & get right with God, I suggest.

      1. America is a collectivist, redistributionist, communistic dictatorship-of-the-proletariat in a condition of corruption, hysteria, incoherence, chaos and anarchy. The inmates have taken over the asylum.

        Abraham “Crazy Abe” Lincoln seized power, neutralized the other two branches of government and ruled by executive order and proclamation to “Save the Union.”

        President Trump must now seize power, neutralize the other two branches of government and rule by executive order and proclamation to “Save the Republic.”

        Ben Franklin, 1787, we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”

        Ben Franklin, 2019, we gave you “…a republic, if you can take it back.”

      1. Me 2!,

        English is like Piglatin. I thought 4 years about just only using number 2 4 all uses of 2.

        The other day I got caught on quiet when I spelled it quite. those damned qu words, who in the hell came up with putting all those vowels in a word? I think next I’ll just talk like a pissed off spouse or a construction worker: Just shut the phk up. LOL;)

  8. James Comey also broke government rules and policies according to IG Horowitz


    The following is a digest of the numerous times Comey was criticized and cited in the report for violations:

    “Comey did not seek authorization from the FBI before providing Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to his attorneys.” (page 2)

    “Comey did not seek FBI authorization before providing the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to a reporter.” (page 2)

    “As described in this report, we conclude that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.” (page 3)

    “Comey told the OIG that he did not notify anyone at the FBI that he was going to share these Memos with anyone, and did not seek authorization from the FBI prior to emailing these four Memos to Fitzgerald.” (page 38)

    “Accordingly, Comey stated that he did not notify anyone at the FBI that he was going to share the contents of the Memo 4 with Richman or the media, and that he did not seek authorization from FBI to provide Memo 4 to Richman.” (page 40)

    “Accordingly, after his removal as FBI Director, Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement by failing to either surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the FBI or seek authorization to retain them; by releasing official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization; and by failing to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his personal attorneys once he became aware in June 2017 that Memo 2 contained six words (four of which were names of foreign countries mentioned by the President) that the FBI had determined were classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level.” (page 52)

    “Despite knowledge that Memo 3 contained classified information, Comey did not appropriately mark Memo 3 with classification banners, portion markings, or a classification authority block. By failing to do so, Comey violated Executive Order 13526 and Intelligence Community, Department, and FBI policies governing marking of classified information.” (page 53)

    “Comey’s actions with respect to the Memos violated Department and FBI policies concerning the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information, and violated the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.” (page 54)

    “Comey violated Department and FBI policies, and the terms of his FBI Employment Agreement, by retaining copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 after he was removed as Director, regardless of each Memo’s classification level.” (page 55)

    “As a departing FBI employee, Comey was required to relinquish any official documents in his possession and to seek specific authorization from the FBI in order to personally retain any FBI documents. Comey failed to comply with these requirements.” (page 55)

    “As the FBI Director and Head of a Department Component, Comey was required to apply for and obtain authorization from the Assistant Attorney General for Administration to retain any FBI records after his removal. Comey violated these Department and FBI policies by failing to surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 upon being removed as FBI Director and by failing to seek authorization to retain them.” (page 55)

    “Comey violated FBI policies and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he sent a copy of Memo 4 to Richman with instructions to provide the contents to a reporter, and when he transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and a redacted version of 7 to his three attorneys.” (page 56)

    “Comey violated FBI policy and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he chose this path.” (page 56)

    “Comey was not authorized to disclose the statements he attributed to President Trump in Memo 4, which Comey viewed as evidence of an alleged attempt to obstruct the Flynn investigation and which were relevant to the ongoing Flynn investigation.” (page 56)
    “Rather than continuing to safeguard such evidence, Comey unilaterally and without authorization disclosed it to all.” (page 56)

    “However, Comey’s own, personal conception of what was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records, especially given the other lawful and appropriate actions he could have taken to achieve his desired end.” (page 57)

    “The unauthorized disclosure of this information—information that Comey knew only by virtue of his position as FBI Director—violated the terms of his FBI Employment Agreement and the FBI’s Prepublication Review Policy.” (page 57)

    “However, Comey was not authorized to provide these Memos to his attorneys without prior approval from or coordination with the FBI.” (page 58)

    “By providing Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to his attorneys without seeking FBI approval, Comey took for himself the ‘carte blanche authority’ expressly denied by the courts, in clear violation of the FBI’s Prepublication Review Policy and the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement. As a result, Comey not only disclosed sensitive law enforcement information to his personal counsel but also a small amount of information contained in Memo 2 that the FBI subsequently determined was classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level.” (page 58)

    “Once he knew that the FBI had classified portions of Memo 2, Comey failed to immediately notify the FBI that he had previously given Memo 2 to his attorneys.” (page 59)

    “The FBI’s Safeguarding Classified National Security Information Policy Guide clearly states that ‘[a]ny person who has knowledge that classified information has been or may have been lost, compromised, or disclosed to an unauthorized person must immediately report the circumstances to his or her security office.’ Comey violated this requirement by failing to immediately inform the FBI that he provided Memo 2 to his attorneys.” (page 59)

    “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.” (page 59)

    “However, after his removal as FBI Director two months later, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4, which Comey had kept without authorization, to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter for The New York Times.” (page 60)

    “But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information. Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.” (page 60)

    “We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy. Comey’s unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism.” (page 61)

    “Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.” (page 61)

    1. Comey violated NO laws–maybe policies, BUT this was a unique situation in which you have a POTUS who has approached the FBI Director in an effort to obstruct justice by trying to get him to back down from enforcing the law as to Flynn. There is NO policy to cover this situation. He could not be prosecuted because nothing he did was against the law. There were no classified, privileged or confidential matters disclosed. Comey testified he wrote down what Trump said and demanded of him because it was so outrageous, so he wouldn’t forget any detail. So, the memo he wrote to himself was not part of an open investigation, and maybe not even an action pursuant to his job–more like a personal diary–present recollection recorded for future use. The IG tried to find some way to spin Comey’s conduct as wrongdoing, but it simply was not. This was a hot potato, and Comey knew it, and he also knew that if he didn’t let Trump bully him, he’d probably get fired. He made a record. That made Trump look bad. Now that Trump controls the DOJ, the IG slanted everything he had to say about Comey to try to benefit Trump by throwing dirt on Comey. But, at the end of the day, Trump obstructed justice, not only with regard to Comey, but the other incidents set forth in the Mueller report.

      What is amazing is the rhetoric employed by Faux News. They called Comey a cheat, a liar, and Nunes and Trump both tried to trash the man. For what? Writing down details about crimes Trump was committing. Comey did NOT lie. Trump lies every single day. Comey was vindicated. Trump is still a liar who cheated his way into the White House.

  9. One reason for not allowing it is she just violated her oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution by endorsing a left wing socialist who was in bed with Comrade Obama. Since that is an anti Constitutional position it might of been wiser to save it for the ballot box. We’ve found that 80% of the combat arms voted against the regressive liberal socialists I seem to remember 40% of the military REMFs voted for the oath violaters. Now let’s see if there is really equal treatment.

  10. Did you say “violation” in America?

    The American Founders provided maximal freedom to Americans as they severely limited and restricted the government.

    Most Americans cannot grasp the magnitude and expanse of American “freedom.”

    Americans enjoy freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, bearing arms and every other conceivable natural and God-given right and freedom per the 9th Amendment (Opioids, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cholesterol, fat, sky diving, snow skiing, mountain climbing, Nascar racing, whitewater rafting, driving on highways that kill 40K per year? Americans enjoy the freedom of ingestion and recreational activities per the 9th Amendment while laws may be written to prevent “injured party” property damage and bodily injury).

    The American thesis is freedom and self-reliance.

    – Congress cannot tax for “individual Welfare” or redistribution of wealth.

    – Congress cannot claim or exercise dominion over, or possess or dispose of any form of private property, with the sole exception of Eminent Domain.

    – Congress cannot regulate anything other than trade, exchange or “…commerce among the several States.”

    The entire communistic American welfare state is unconstitutional, including but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Dept.’s of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

    Did you say “violation” in America?

    Most of the American government is one grand violation of its Constitution.

    Article 1, Section 8

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    5th Amendment

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  11. Don’t be surprised if Biden pieces this endorsement into the following story for future speeches.

    Joe Biden painted a vivid scene for the 400 people packed into a college meeting hall. A four-star general had asked the then-vice president to travel to Kunar province in Afghanistan, a dangerous foray into “godforsaken country” to recognize the remarkable heroism of a Navy captain.

    Some told him it was too risky, but Biden said he brushed off their concerns. “We can lose a vice president,” he said. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.” [we need voters like this.]

    The Navy captain, Biden recalled Friday night, had rappelled down a 60-foot ravine under fire and retrieved the body of an American comrade, carrying him on his back. Now the general wanted Biden to pin a Silver Star on the American hero who, despite his bravery, felt like a failure.

    “He said, ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing!’ ” Biden said, his jaw clenched and his voice rising to a shout. “’Do not pin it on me, Sir! Please, Sir. Do not do that! He died. He died!’ ”

    The room was silent.

    “This is the God’s truth,” Biden had said as he told the story. “My word as a Biden.”

    Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.

  12. Slow news day yet Turley takes the gutter approach. Instead of using his blog to edify and elevate readers on the elegance of our national foundations, he does what CNN, Fox News, Breitbart (hence his video link to Breitbart) and the liberal media do: agitate, shriek and show consternation. If it bleeds it leads!

    No wonder Americans are anxious, depressed and addicts to internet sites:
    the thrill of gouging is irresistible

    This from Academia

    1. Yes, U Heron, we want our military, in uniform, supporting political candidates. Really healthy.

  13. Here we see another example of fawning toward a politician proving to be a costly error.

  14. The right to free speech. The right to endorse a political candidate. The right to wear a uniform. Look at the First Amendment folks. Look at some cases out there from the Supreme Court. If the Army folks cannot vote then Maddow can’t vote. The President is the Commander in Chief. He is allowed to speak freely. If you go down the pole where does the First Amendment die?
    Hatch Act: put a bullet in it.

  15. The Hatch Act in Prof. Turley’s hands is a jobs program for compliance people. Of course it should be ignored.

    Having a soldier doing this in uniform is properly regarded as a violation of military protocol, however.

    1. Let us hope so. We don’t need those who support foreign ideologies especially the Slave Party turned Jim Crow Law Party, turned anti civil rights party, turned one party one leader Party and overtly Socialist regressive party poisoning our military and doing so as a race traitor which is apparent. .

    2. PCS, you did not respond to this post yesterday:

      PCS, the OJ jury was majority black (9 Africans, 1 Hispanic, 2 Americans). How in the world did the judge allow that in Los Angeles (i.e. Compton North)? Answer: Corruption of the process. OJ’s “peers” were in Brentwood. OJ was guilty and “found” Not Guilty. It sounds as if you approve of gross miscarriages of justice.

      “Selection of the Jury”

      “The racial composition of the jury was strongly influenced by the decision of the prosecution to file the Simpson case in downtown Los Angeles rather than–as is usually the case– in the judicial district where the crime occurred– in this case, Santa Monica. Had the case be filed in Santa Monica, the Simpson jury would have been mostly white instead of, as was the case, mostly African-American. With poll data showing that most whites believed Simpson to be guilty and most blacks believing him to be not guilty, the decision to file the case in Santa Monica may have been the biggest mistake the prosecution made. Vincent Bugliosi, the celebrated prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, said the mistake “dwarfed anything the defense did.”

      – Internet Report

  16. The fact that almost all alleged Hatch violations can be detailed as they occur suggests that the we are not facing an ethical epidemic.

    By all means, note these violations and talk about them, but let’s keep perspective and avoid the screaming hysteria that the left specializes in.

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