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Ex-Trump official was eventually punished under the Hatch Act. Who’s next?
Drew AngererFor years, flagrant violations of the Hatch Act were only competed by “Infrastructure Week” as the Trump administration’s grimest running joke. But nearly three months after President Donald Trump stepped down, a former civil servant was officially disciplined for using his position for political ends – and more may be on the way. Lynne Patton, a long-time Trump organization and former event planner, ran into conflict during her tenure as public liaison director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, repeatedly banned from the Hatch Act, but openly denied discipline for violating the law. “I just retweeted this amazing tweet from both of my Twitter accounts – professionally and personally,” Patton wrote in a 2019 Facebook post after sharing a meme from a Conservative account. “It could be a violation of the Hatch Act. It may not be. In any case, I honestly don’t care. However, on Tuesday, Patton was finally disciplined for violating the ethics law and accepted a US Office of Special Counsel settlement that included a $ 1,000 fine and a four-year ban on service in the federal government. Patton also had to admit that she knowingly broken the law when recruiting public housing residents to appear in a video for Trump at the Republican National Convention last year. Usually such violations were dismissed as bureaucratic “oopsies” by Trump officials. But with President Joe Biden’s election, the Office of Special Counsel and Merit Systems Protection Board – the government agency charged with ruling on cases of potential violations of the Hatch Act that have been without quorum throughout Trump’s tenure – Ex-Trump official Lynne Patton broke Hatch law with misleading RNC videos: OSC’s Office of Special Counsel would not confirm the existence of an upcoming investigation, but said it slightly curtailed the timing of the complaints filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board: “In order for OSC to file a complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board, OSC should have filed the complaint while the issue was still a federal employee,” Zachary Kurz, a spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel, told The Daily Beast. “Otherwise MSPB is no longer responsible.” However, the massive number of complaints filed with the board, now in the thousands, means some Trumpworld personalities are nervous that they could actually have ramifications for violating the Hatch Act Let’s put it this way: people will wish they would never have tweeted, “wrote a person close to the White House.” Even in a government characterized by persistent disregard for ethics, Lynne Patton stood out, “said Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the ethics watchdog organization that originally filed the complaint against Patton. “What made her behavior particularly egregious was that she not only used her position for political ends, but misled social housing residents and exploited them for political ends. She showed little consideration for the people she was supposed to help and the ethics she should obey. “Patton’s actions were far from an outlier in the Trump administration, where senior officials developed a year-long pattern of violating the Hatch Act, mostly with impunity. The National Convention of Republicans alone represented a tsunami of potential violations of the law, from former Acting Secretary of State for Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, who hosted a primetime naturalization ceremony, to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to the decision of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to address the Jerusalem RNC until it was closed In October 2020 alone, the CREW found that 16 Trump officials had violated the Hatch Act an astonishing 60 times, including first daughter / senior advisor Ivanka Trump, son-in-law / senior advisor Jared Kushner, spokesman Kayleigh McEnany, commercial honoree Peter Navarro and communications director Alyssa Farah – but top government officials openly despised the law prohibiting the use of government positions or government resources for political purposes. “Nobody outside the Beltway really cares – they expect Donald Trump to promote Republican values and they would expect Barack Obama, when he was in office, to do the same for Democrats,” said the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows – a former Hatch Act advocate – told Politico in August, calling ethics experts “much hoopla”. Former White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said just before the Office of Special Counsel found she was should have been removed from government service for her repeated violations of the Hatch Act: “Blah, blah, blah … Let me know when the jail term begins. Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.