The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Hatch Act complaint alleging White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki violated the law in endorsing Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe from behind the White House briefing room podium. “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing,” Psaki said during a Thursday press briefing.
“After the ethics disaster of the Trump administration, there is extra pressure on the Biden administration to be above board,” CREW head Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “It is important to have a concerted effort to comply with important laws, rather than to give repeated passes, in order to restore the American people’s faith in government. We hope the Biden administration will give renewed attention to staying on the right side of this law.”
The incident followed repeated violations of the law, which prevents government employees from endorsing political candidates through their official positions, by Trump officials. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which oversees such complaints, even recommended the firing of former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway for a string of violations.