Psaki Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Hatch Act Violation

During the Trump Administration, we discussed a series of Hatch Act violations by officials and the response of the White House Chief of Staff that “nobody really cares.” It is certainly true that the Hatch Act represents little more than a speed bump in governmental ethics as was evident this week when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was hit by a complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). To the credit of CREW, the group is showing the same vigor in defending ethics in this Administration. However, these cases highlight the toothless quality of the Act.

Psaki responded to a question about the Virginia gubernatorial race by acknowledging she had “to be a little careful about how much political analysis I do” from the podium. However, she then tossed caution to the winds and declared “Look, I think the president, of course, wants former Governor McAuliffe to be the future governor of Virginia. There is alignment on a lot of their agenda, whether it is the need to invest in rebuilding our roads, rails, and bridges, or making it easier for women to rejoin the workforce.”

The key prohibition bars executive branch employees from “us[ing their] official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” CREW further notes in the complaint:

“Activities covered by this prohibition include a federal employee’s use of their official authority or position while participating in political activity. “Political activity” is defined as “an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.” The Hatch Act further prohibits most federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, but it does not prohibit certain employees appointed by the President from doing so. However, if these officials do engage in political activity, they must do so in their personal capacities and the costs associated with their political activity must not be paid with money derived from the United States Treasury.”

For her part, Psaki seemed to shrug off the complaint and said that she should probably “choose my words more carefully.”

The Hatch Act remains a largely aspirational law given the lack of real enforcement elements. These complaints serve a purpose in flagging inappropriate commentary. The line between politics and government can be easily blurred in the White House where officials are asked for the political position of the President on a host of different issues, including close races like the one in Virginia.  That does not take away from the important work that CREW does but the law often seems more honored in the breach.

22 thoughts on “Psaki Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Hatch Act Violation”

  1. As Al Gore once said, “There is no controlling legal authority.”

    Whatever that means.

    1. I’m not one to defend Al Gore, but he did say that his “counsel” advised him there was “no controlling legal authority.” However, his counsel, conveniently, hasn’t explained what that meant either.

    2. It means the seal on Al’s cranial vault is leaky. Al Gore thanks the Lord everyday for having been handed status on a silver platter, understanding that Al Gore had no hope or prospect of anything approaching the definition of profitable success of his own devices – something akin to those idiot Kennedys who couldn’t keep a plane in the air, a car out of Poucha Pond, or drive down the street in a limousine, as any Texan is capable of.

  2. Voting rights. I called my voting office in this county. I said I wanted to bring my ID and get a voting card and be able to go to the polls on election day after 9 a m. And be allowed to vote. They said yes that is allowable in this state and county. I said that’s all any person needs

  3. So this is just like Biden, and Obama.
    They quote the law, the constitution, explain exactly why they can’t do, and cite appropriate background facts. Then they smile and do it anyway, because they know the system is full of corrupt leftists that will never hold them to account. (see Clinton’s wife)

    “Yea, we know its illegal. But we don’t care. Breaking the law is exactly what is required. If you were as enlightened as us, you would know that. ” (besides Jeff Tubin says he can “beat that”)

    1. It is their religion, their sacred texts, their omniscient high priests and priestesses who determine who is righteous and who is deplorable. All this while their demonic cult followers bend their knees and beg for more blood sacrifices from the people. Frankly, reading Dante Alighieri‘s Divine Comedy was far more enlightening. Alas, who reads Dante today? Pffft.

      The Vanishing Legacy of Barack Obama
      – Matt Taibbi

      A former president flying half the world’s celebrities to spend three days in a maskless ring-kissing romp at a $12 million Martha’s Vineyard mansion, at a moment when only a federal eviction ban prevented the outbreak of a national homelessness crisis, was already an all-time “F*** the Optics” news event, and that was before the curveball. Because of what even the New York Times called “growing concerns” over how gross the mega-party looked, not least for the Joe Biden administration burdened with asking the nation for sober sacrifice while his ex-boss raised the roof with movie stars in tropical shirts, advisers prevailed upon the 44th president to reconsider the bacchanal. …

      There’s a glorious moment in the life of a certain kind of politician, when either because their careers are over, or because they’re so untouchable politically that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they finally get to remove the public mask, no pun intended. This Covid bash was Barack Obama’s “F*** it!” moment.

      He extended middle fingers in all directions: to his Vineyard neighbors, the rest of America, Biden, the hanger-on ex-staffers…

  4. Watch Jenn Psaki answer a question. Count how many times she says “ah, uh, uh, uh” before finishing one response. It’s painful.

    And we are being told she is a first rate “communications” pro? It’s laughable how bad she really is. She is snide, arrogant, priggish, condescending. Just awful.

    Her deputy, Karine Jean Pierre (?) has FAR more poise and talent up at that podium than Psaki has. Compare the two next time KJP speaks and you will see just how awful at the job Jenn Psaki truly is.

  5. Funny, when a leftist breaks the law in support of a leftist cause, the first response is to sputter: But . . . but . . . Trump!

    My mother was not an educated woman. In her day, people in her social class were expected to graduate from high school. That was it. The thought of college was beyond the pale. Still, even though she wasn’t educated, she was a brilliant woman.

    One of the earliest lessons she taught me as a small child was one morning when caught me red-handed doing something wrong. My youthful retort? “But Mom, Billy did it too.” Mom’s response: “Epstein, this isn’t about Billy, and whatever he did is not an excuse. If you ever say that to me again, your punishment will be worse.”

    What Mom understood intuitively was once a tenet of the common law. Maybe it still is. But its application now depends on the political affiliation of the wrongdoer and the end achieved by their law breaking. This is just one of the myriad ways, large and small, that today’s leftists are destroying their credibility and, more importantly, confidence in American systems of governance among those subject to their rule.

    I never pieced it together before now, but the early lesson from Mom likely played an important role in the development of the second D in Epstein’s First Rule of Democrat Behavior:

    When everything else fails, fall back on the four D’s: Deny, Deflect, Dissemble, Democrat.

  6. Hatch Act smatch act yadda yadda who cares? I mean really, who cares? The Jenn Psaki’s of DC World do not care. She’s uncancellable. The liberal media sycophants will not press her or Joe or anyone in Democrat politico world. She knows it. She’s on her ticket to ride to the next very lucrative gig….and the next….and the next….and so Hatch Act smatch act yadda yadda who cares?

    I care.

    We just saw Andy McCabe get his record of sliminess and lying aka “lack of candor” wiped off his record so that he may retire from the FBI with distinction. Are you disgusted yet? Does anyone in DC World care about this gross injustice? McCabe lied. More than once. He targeted and set people up. He’s a lying snake. He is a corrupt POS. The FBI is full of lying POS snakes. Andy McCabe is free and clear and now on TV becoming a CNN martyr. It’s disgusting.

    We should all care. Democracry and Rule of Law is breaking down before our very eyes. Do not go back to sleep, people. And if you are Trump supporters or MAGA? Watch your back, they (these lying POS snakes like McCabe, et al) have placed targets on every single one of us.

    1. Yes. Quite disgusted. It’s no longer that we (Americans) are standing on the edge of the abyss. No, we’re careening at warp speed to the bottom. No morals, no ethics.

      1. Actually, after hitting bottom some time ago, it seems they continue to excavate to make the bottom ever deeper.

  7. She is doing a fine job of living up to the standards set by Ronald Ziegler (RIP)

  8. While I disagree with just about everything Psaki says we must remember she is the mouthpiece of the President who of course has a speech impediment. There is no disagreement of that fact.

  9. Hatch Act. You dig a thirty foot hole in the yard that is five feet in diameter. You place spikes pointing up in the bottom. You put a hatch on the hole with hinges which let the hatch board flip down if someone steps on it. You cover the board with the same yard grass which surrounds it. You put a sign up at the perimeter of the yard which says: Do not enter.
    It’s quite an act.

    1. Let’s be honest. The more she parrots the narrative of the DC string-pullers the higher her salary when she shifts to the private sector. These people can care less b/c all they do is shuttle between the gov’t & private sector to climb the financial ladder. And folks in DC love it.

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