hatch me if you can
A former Trump administration official has been hit with a $1,000 fine and barred from holding federal office for four years over a violation of the Hatch Act.
The Office of Special Counsel said Tuesday that Lynne Patton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump's who served in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been disciplined for violating the Hatch Act by "using her official position to produce a video about housing conditions for the Republican National Convention."
The Hatch Act limits federal employees from engaging in political activities in their official capacity, but the OSC said Patton "improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign." She recruited participants to film an RNC video in which New York City Housing Authority residents would "explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration," the agency said.
Patton will pay a $1,000 fine for the Hatch Act violation, and she has also been barred from federal employment for 48 months. The news was notable after some other Trump administration officials were previously found to have violated the Hatch Act but were not disciplined. The Office of Special Counsel in 2019, for example, recommended that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired from her job for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act, Axios notes.
The agency also determined in 2020 that trade adviser Peter Navarro repeatedly violated the Hatch Act. And last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received criticism for speaking at the RNC from Jerusalem, with critics at the time arguing he was violating the Hatch Act while doing so. In response to these complaints, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asserted that when it comes to the Hatch Act, "nobody outside of the Beltway really cares" about it.