White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been accused of violating the Hatch Act by a non-profit government watchdog group.
The complaint was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), who alleged that Psaki violated the Hatch Act by endorsing Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during a press conference.
During the press briefing in question, Psaki said “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”
CREW is known to be a left-leaning organization, which filed several complaints against the Trump Administration, so the fact that they’re targeting Psaki should say quite a bit.
They formerly filed complainst against President Donald Trump, Sarah Sanders, Kayleigh McEnany, and Mark Meadows.
McEnany was the first to call Psaki out for her violations.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) respectfully requests that the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) investigate whether White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki violated the Hatch Act by advocating for the election of Terry McAuliffe to be governor of Virginia during an official White House press briefing. These actions were directed specifically toward the success or failure of a political candidate in a partisan race. By mixing official government business with support of a candidate for partisan political office in the weeks before the election and engaging in political activity while on duty, Ms. Psaki appears to have used her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election, political activity that is prohibited by law.
CREW continued with the potential violation from Psaki:
Ms. Psaki appears to have violated the Hatch Act in her October 14 press briefing by impermissibly mixing official government business with advocacy for former Governor McAuliffe’s election. There is no question Ms. Psaki was speaking in her official capacity and was on duty. Her remarks were made during an official press briefing from behind the podium in the White House Briefing Room, and she discussed numerous official issues during the briefing.
There is also little doubt that Ms. Psaki’s statements were aimed at the success or failure of a candidate in a partisan election. The Virginia gubernatorial election is scheduled October 15, 2021.
Several other media outlets have covered the story:
CNBC with more on the accusations against Psaki:
CREW alleged in a complaint that Psaki violated the ethics law Thursday during a press briefing when she affirmed President Joe Biden’s support for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
“I have to be a little careful about how much political analysis I do from here,” Psaki said before noting that Biden “of course” wants McAuliffe “to be the future governor of Virginia.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to help” McAuliffe, Psaki said, “and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”
The complaint, filed to Henry Kerner of the Office of Special Counsel, alleged that Psaki appeared to violate the Hatch Act by “impermissibly mixing official government business with advocacy for former Governor McAuliffe’s election.” Her remarks were made in her official capacity and they were aimed at a preferred outcome in a partisan political election, the complaint said.
Former Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany originally called Psaki out for her violations.
Jake Tapper questioned Psaki for the violation to which Psaki responded that she takes ethics "seriously" and will "be more careful" with her words next time.
Tapper's question starts at 7:12 in the video below: