C&BP’s Complaint Followed a Clear Political Attack by DeVos on Fox News
Does a Hatch Act complaint live on after a federal official leaves office? Often it does.
The 1937 Hatch Act is clear: Officials of the U.S. government must not use their authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election. Nor may they engage in political activity while on duty.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a final report on Feb. 12 to President Biden on its investigation into Carla Sands, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. Sands was found guilty of violating the Hatch Act when she used her official Twitter account, “@USAmbDenmark,” to engage in prohibited political activity.
Last September, Checks and Balances Project filed a complaint against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging Hatch Act violations.
Sec. DeVos’s series of alleged violations began Sept. 1, 2020, when she attacked presidential candidate – and former Vice President – Joe Biden on Fox News, saying his pledge to reverse DeVos’s widely unpopular policies was “shameful.” In addition, Sec. DeVos’s statement that Biden had “turned his face in favor of the teachers union” was, in our opinion, a clear political attack that had no relationship to her duties as a federal cabinet secretary.
On Feb. 16, Hatch Act Unit Chief Ana Galindo-Marrone responded to our inquiry and affirmed the case against Betsy DeVos was still open. She promised to send us a letter with her determination once the investigation was complete.
As always, we will update our readers when we learn more.
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Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.