(PatrioticPost.com)- An independent investigation has determined that one of President Joe Biden’s top advisers did indeed violate the Hatch Act.
Late last week, the Office of Special Counsel wrote a letter about the conduct of Marcia Fudge, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to the watchdog group Americans for Public Trust. The letter addressed comments made by Fudge at a White House briefing in March, in which she gave her opinion on the chances of Democratic candidates winning a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio during the 2022 midterm elections.
The Hatch Act, which was passed back in 1939, bans almost all partisan political activities taken by any government official while they are acting in their official government capacity.
At a briefing on March 18, Fudge, who is a former Ohio representative, was asked her opinion on the upcoming congressional race in Ohio. At first, she declined to comment, but she was pressed further by a reporter, who asked:
“How about the Senate race in your state? Is there a Democrat that should run?”
She was then asked to identify people who would be a good fit to run for the Senate seat in Ohio. She replied:
“Well, I have two friends that are thinking about it. Tim Ryan, of course, is thinking about it. I understand that Nan Whaley is thinking about it. I mean, I think we’re going to put a good person in that race, no matter who we choose. But they’re both friends.
“I think we have a good shot at it. I know people have written off Ohio. I haven’t written off Ohio. I believe we can win the Senate race.”
Those comments crossed into dangerous territory for Fudge, as the Office of Special Counsel said. In their letter to Americans for Public Trust, they wrote:
“By stating, for example, that ‘we have a good shot at it’ and ‘I believe we can win the Senate race,’ Secretary Fudge showed support for the Democratic Party with respect to the Ohio Senate race while speaking in her official capacity.
“Accordingly, OSC has concluded that she violated the Hatch Act during her official appearance at the March 18 press briefing.”
The OSC decided to only issue Fudge a warning for her actions, though. They explained why in their letter:
“But considering that shortly after the incident Secretary Fudge expressed remorse about her statement and that HUD ethics officials counseled her about the Hatch Act, OSC has closed this matter by issuing her a warning letter.
“Please note that Secretary Fudge has been advised that if in the future she engages in prohibited political activity we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law that could result in further action.”
Federal employees who violate the Hatch Act could face removal from their position, a reduction in their employment grade, a ban on federal employment for a time of up to five years, suspension, public reprimand and a civil fine up to $1,000.