The Republican National Convention is under criticism from Democrats for the string of apparent Hatch Act violations that have appeared over the course of the convention.
The Hatch Act is a 1939 law that prohibits employees of the executive branch (with the exception of the president, vice president and first lady) from engaging in political activities while in their official capacities.
On Tuesday night, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf oversaw the latest apparent violation of the Hatch Act when he presided over a naturalization ceremony at the White House as part of the Republican National Convention programming.
Wolf’s actions were widely criticized. Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) wrote, “This is not a political convention. It’s a crime scene.”
This is not a political convention. It’s a crime scene. https://t.co/Ep7guCi6Cg— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 26, 2020
Wolf is not the only RNC speaker accused of violating the Hatch Act. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his convention speech from Jerusalem while on an official trip.
The Trump administration has defended their decisions to blur the line between government business and political activities. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday, “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats.”
But the most frequent Hatch Act offender, Kellyanne Conway, is soon leaving the White House. The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) found that Conway had violated the Hatch Act numerous times and recommended that she be removed from federal service.
The OSC said in a press release that Conway, who is also speaking at the Republican National Convention, “Violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”