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HomePoliticsWhite House chief of staff Ron Klain warned after Hatch Act violation

White House chief of staff Ron Klain warned after Hatch Act violation

Ron Klain in his office, on January, 13, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain received a warning for violating the Hatch Act after he retweeted a political group’s post from his government Twitter account.

The Hatch Act prohibits government officials from using government resources for political activities.

Klain in May retweeted a post from the Democratic group Strike PAC thanking President Joe Biden for shipping out baby formula during the spring shortage. The second half of the tweet ran afoul of the act.

It linked to the PAC store with the text, “Get your Democrats Deliver merch today!” Klain removed the retweet when he learned of the complaint.

America First Legal, a group run by former Trump administration official Stephen Miller, brought the retweet to the attention of the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency. Miller himself violated the Hatch Act, and the OSC at the time recommended action be taken against him.

America First Legal on Thursday posted a letter from the OSC responding to its complaint. It noted that Klain only received a warning because he promptly removed the tweet.

A spokesperson for the OSC declined to comment on the matter, but confirmed the letter’s authenticity.

Miller was not the only member of the Trump administration to violate the Hatch Act during his time in office. Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed the following Trump officials as Hatch Act violators during Trump’s term: Dan Scavino, Nikki Haley, Stephanie Grisham, Raj Shah, Jessica Ditto, Madeleine Westerhout, Helen Aguirre Ferre, Alyssa Farah, Jacob Wood, Kellyanne Conway and Lynne Patton.

The OSC determined Conway had violated the Hatch Act on so many occasions that it made the unprecedented decision to recommend she be removed from federal duty.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday that Klain is “very careful” and takes the act seriously, but “got it wrong this time.”

“He fixed it as soon as it was pointed out, and takes the warning to be more careful seriously,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s very different than the prior crew here at the White House before us previously that blatantly, openly and carelessly violated the Hatch Act repeatedly.”

Jean-Pierre herself is cautious about running afoul of the Hatch Act. She frequently reminds reporters from the White House briefing room podium that she cannot comment on political issues because of the act.

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