White House Tweets Violate The Law

The White House has its own Twitter account. The account should be apolitical because it is funded by taxpayers. As CNBC put it:

The official White House account is overseen by staff of the president, and passed on to each successive administration. Maintenance of the account falls to a government employee, whose salary is paid by taxpayers.

Customarily the account is used to provide updates on the President’s calendar and activities. However, the impeachment investigation has prompted this public employee to flagrantly violate the law by using the official, taxpayer funded account to attack political opponents of the President and witnesses in the impeachment investigation. Tweets from that account today include attacks on the honorable service of LTC Vindman aimed at undermining his testimony before Congress.

Even more ridiculous, and childish, was the name calling tweet against Chairman Schiff of the Intelligence Committee.

Parroting Trump’s hoax claims about the investigation.

Attacking democrats in general.

There are many more such tweets, too many to post here. While the President may be entitled to say such things on his personal account, the thing about these tweets is that they are not a personal account. This is the official White House account. These tweets constitute American taxpayer dollars at work. That includes the majority of American taxpayers who support impeachment.

If it does not seem right that taxpayer funds could be used in so blatantly a partisan manner, that is because it is not right. The tweets violate the Hatch Act. In particular 5 U.S.C. §7324.

§7324. Political activities on duty; prohibition

(a) An employee may not engage in political activity —

(1) while the employee is on duty;

(2) in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an individual employed or holding office in the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof

Per §7326 those in violation “shall be removed” from their position.

I am currently researching how I might file a Hatch Act complaint in this matter.

EDIT & UPDATE

I have submitted a formal complaint to the Office of Special Counsel for the Hatch Act requesting an investigation into the White House Twitter account violations detailed in this article. My original problem was that the complaint form for doing so (OSC Form 14) required the name of the subject I was lodging the complaint against and I did not know that name.

The form provides a number to call if one has questions, so I did. I left a message and received a surprisingly quick call back within the hour. The OSC representative was very helpful and advised me to just state the name was “unknown.” He also said I could include attachments incorporating the tweets I believed violated the Act. The attachments I submitted largely mirrored what is written in this article.

I mailed it this morning, November 20th.

Edit & Update December 10th

I have received an update in the Hatch Act complaint I filed as described in this article. The response acknowledged receipt of my complaint, gave me the case number it has been assigned, and gave the name and phone number of the Office of Special Counsel Attorney assigned that case.

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Written by

Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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