Thirteen of President Donald J. Trump’s most senior aides — including his son-in-law and his chief of staff — campaigned illegally for Mr. Trump’s re-election in violation of a law designed to prevent federal employees from abusing the power of their offices on behalf of candidates, a government watchdog agency said Tuesday.
Henry Kerner, who heads the Office of Special Counsel, made the assertion in a withering report that followed a nearly yearlong investigation into “myriad” violations of the law, known as the Hatch Act.
“Senior Trump administration officials chose to use their official authority not for the legitimate functions of the government, but to promote the re-election of President Trump in violation of the law,” the report concluded.
Investigators in Mr. Kerner’s office said Trump administration officials purposely violated the law prohibiting political activity during the final few weeks of the administration, when they knew that the Office of Special Counsel would not have time to investigate and issue findings before Election Day….
iolations of the Hatch Act are not uncommon for any presidential administration. In October, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, apologized after an outside group accused her of violating the law by commenting in the White House press room on the pending governor’s race in Virginia.
But the Kerner report describes something more rare: a concerted, willful effort to violate the law by the most senior officials in the White House. The Washington Post disclosed the report’s release earlier on Tuesday.
The people accused of breaking the law are a who’s who of Trump officials: Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette; Kellyanne Conway, counselor; Alyssa Farah, White House communications director; David Friedman, ambassador to Israel; Jared Kushner, senior adviser; Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary; Mark Meadows, chief of staff; Stephen Miller, senior adviser; Brian Morgenstern, deputy press secretary; Robert C. O’Brien, national security adviser; Marc Short, chief of staff to the vice president; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.
The report said that Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Wolf violated the law through their actions during the Republican National Convention, which took place at the White House because of the pandemic.