A senior Housing and Urban Development official was cleared of an Office of Special Counsel warning on Wednesday after she said she didn't care if they violated the Hatch Act.
Lynne Patton received a formal warning letter from OSC claiming she had violated the law when she promoted four political tweets on her Twitter account for the government and sold a red & # 39; US & # 39; hat through the Trump campaign at her office.
& # 39; Although OSC concluded that you had violated the Hatch Act by unknowingly displaying a campaign hat at your office and putting partisan political tweets on your official Twitter account & # 39; Liken & # 39 ;, Deputy Head of OSC & Hatch Act Unit Erica Hamrick reprimanded in a letter Wednesday, & # 39; we have decided not to take disciplinary action and close our files without further action. & # 39;
Patton, a HUD administrator for the New York and New Jersey region, used her official HUD Twitter account to like & # 39; like & # 39;
She also appeared to have violated the Hatch Act when posing for a photo in her federal government office for an article in New York Magazine in which she profiled her in her new position at HUD. The bookcase above her head has an & # 39; official US 45th presidential hat & # 39 ;, which is sold on the Trump / Pence 2020 campaign website.
New York and New Jersey regional administrator for housing and urban development Lynne Patton was punished, but acquitted by the Office of Special Counsel of two violations of Hatch Act on Wednesday
The two promotions, including showing a red US hat sold by the Trump / Pence campaign on her office bookbag – which was featured on a photo in New York Magazine – and liked & # 39; four politically charged messages on her official HUD Twitter account
She was accused of violating the Hatch Act by tweeting the defense of HUD Secretary Ben Carson (photo) and appearing at a supervised hearing with former Trump fixer Michael Cohen
The Hatch law prohibits those working in the executive – apart from the president and vice-president – from participating in certain forms of political activity, such as promotion or campaigning for candidates.
The OSC also cleared Patton, who was previously vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation, from two other alleged violations when she reposted a tweet in defense of HUD Secretary Ben Carson and when she silently appeared at a hearing with Trump & # 39; s former fixer Michael Cohen.
Patton responded to the letter from OSC in a statement and thanked the watchdog group for delivering & # 39; an unbiased vote in Washington & # 39 ;.
& # 39; OSC has determined that I have not violated the Hatch Act because it related to my presence at the hearing with Michael Cohen and to my tweet that Minister Carson defended & she said.
& # 39; OSC decided not to take disciplinary action for two minor violations, & # 39; she added of the two incidents that violate the Hatch Act. & # 39; I look forward to continuing to focus on the people of New York and New Jersey, whose well-being I find most important. & # 39;
In May, Patton, who reportedly planned Eric Trump's marriage before taking up her position at HUD, wrote in a Facebook message that she didn't care if her political statements violated the Hatch Act.
In reference to a tweet she made for defending Carson, which ultimately turned out not to be in violation of the law, Patton wrote on Facebook that it & # 39; was a violation of the Hatch Act & # 39; could be. Maybe it's not like that. Anyway, I honestly don't care anymore … & # 39;
Patton (third from the right) previously worked as vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation and allegedly helped plan his marriage
The re-posted tweet was also touched by the intelligence of first-year representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The tweet appeared not to violate any rules, since neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Carson were political candidates when the position was posted.
Going to the hearing where Cohen appeared was also erased because Patton was on unpaid leave at the time and Hamrick claims in her letter that she was only on hearing at & # 39; personal title & # 39; and not as an American official.
There were four other tweets that Patton liked and were found in violation.
The tweets include an approval from Trump of the then Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis; a tweet from the Republican National Committee that criticized moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin; a function of the GOP which advocates being named Mike Pompeo state secretary; and a tweet from rapper Kanye West about having his & # 39; Make America Great Again & # 39; hat signed by the president.
Hamrick said that if Patton continued to perform prohibited activities such as these while he was employed by the federal government, further action would be taken.
At least 13 other Trump officials have been reprimanded for possible violations of the Hatch Act, including Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway.
& # 39; If you want to silence me through the Hatch Act, it won't work. Let me know when the prison sentence starts, & Conway said in May.
The OSC recommended in June that she be fired from the White House for repeated violations and claimed that she scorned & # 39; Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media. & # 39;
She rejected these claims and Trump refused to dismiss one of his closest allies.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington was the original watchdog group that had filed the complaint against Patton. They have issued a statement in which they regret the OSC results.
& # 39; After serving the interests of Donald Trump for years, Lynne Patton still seems to be doing so in her tax-funded job & # 39 ;, their executive director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. & # 39; In a democracy, laws that prevent the government from acting to keep itself in power are crucial and we will work tirelessly to ensure that they are enforced. & # 39;
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