The White House continued to use former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “MAGA” disparagingly in public statements this week, despite being notified by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that using the term violated the Hatch Act and being warned against using it again. The Hatch Act is a longstanding ethics law that prohibits federal employees from using their offices to influence elections.
In a letter to the White House last week, the OSC informed Jean-Pierre that she had violated the Hatch Act when she used the phrase “MAGA Republicans” during a press conference in November.
The prosecutorial agency “decided to close this matter without further action” but warned the White House that if the “prohibited political activity” continued, they would “consider it a knowing and willful violation of the law that could result in OSC pursuing disciplinary action.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and deputy press secretary Andrew Bates both issued statements this week containing references to “MAGA,” willfully defying the OSC’s guidance.
“The hardcore MAGA budget just released by the Republican Study Committee–which represents a majority of House Republicans–amounts to a devastating attack on Medicare, Social Security, and Americans’ access to health coverage and prescription drugs,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement on the White House website.
The GOP budget would slash spending by $16.3 trillion over the next 10 years.
“This extreme MAGA proposal invests in the super wealthy and the biggest corporations at the expense of hardworking families. It’s not just backward, it threatens all the economic progress the President has made over the last two and a half years to rebuild an economy that works for everyone,” the statement concludes.
Bates also attacked the Republican budget in a memo Wednesday that repeatedly used the prohibited phrase.
Scoop: The White House will continue to use the term "MAGA" a week after the WH Office of Special Counsel declared it a violation of the Hatch Act.
Deputy Press Sec Andrew Bates pens a new memo hitting R's on "MAGA windfall" and "MAGA tax welfare"https://t.co/hF1l4r9ixF pic.twitter.com/s56Mb7oyol
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) June 14, 2023
The Biden regime began referring to “MAGA” derisively in the leadup to the 2022 midterm elections as part of an ongoing effort to portray its GOP opponents as a far-right “extremist threat” to Democracy.
Joe Biden used the term repeatedly during his infamous “blood-red” speech in Philadelphia on September 1, referring to Trump supporters as “Ultra-MAGA” or “MAGA forces” who were a “threat to this country.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the White House initially claimed Biden came up with the “ULTRA MAGA” phrase himself, “but the Washington Post later revealed the messaging was the focus-group-tested result of a six-month research project from the Center for American Progress Action Fund under the leadership of Biden aide Anita Dunn.”
The Biden administration has a sordid history with the Hatch Act. Former press secretary Jen Psaki, former White House chief of staff Ron Klain, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm have all violated the longstanding ethics law, according to investigations from the Office of Special Counsel.
The conservative watchdog group, Protect the Public’s Trust, filed the Hatch Act complaint against Jean-Pierre in November. In a new complaint to the OSC filed Thursday morning, the group called Jean-Pierre and Bates’ statements a “deliberate thumb in the eye” of federal authorities and demanded a formal investigation into the White House’s “deliberate decision” to defy the agency’s legal guidance.
“Is this the behavior the American public should expect from the self-proclaimed most ethical administration in history?” Protect the Public’s Trust director Michael Chamberlain told the Washington Free Beacon. “We were promised a return to normalcy, respect for the rule of law, and decency. Yet what we are getting is open mockery of rules and standards in pursuit of political advantage.”
“Anyone wondering why trust in government continues its downward spiral need look no further than this episode,” Chamberlain added.
In a statement to WFB defending the regime’s continued use of the prohibited slogan, Bates seemed to argue that the White House’s defiance of the law was justified because an official at the OSC is purportedly a MAGA Republican.
“If a former Trump campaign spokesperson who later worked under Betsy DeVos in an administration that incurred a historic number of Hatch Act violations qualifies as an ‘independent watchdog’ simply because they bought a nametag, then I would like for you to describe me in this article as a winner and Olympic gold medalist,” said Bates.
“We take the Hatch Act seriously, and note that this exact phrase has been used countless times by Republicans in elective office to refer to official policy proposals, agendas, and related values,” Bates added. “We have only every [sic] used it in the same way.”