Trump advisers illegally campaigned while in office, government report finds

Former U.S. President Donald Trump reacts after his speech during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 9. A U.S. government agency on Tuesday said 13 senior members of the former president's administration violated a law that limits political campaigning by government employees.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump reacts after his speech during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 9. A U.S. government agency on Tuesday said 13 senior members of the former president's administration violated a law that limits political campaigning by government employees. (Rachel Mummey, Reuters)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

WASHINGTON — A U.S. government agency on Tuesday said 13 senior members of former President Donald Trump's administration violated a law that limits political campaigning by government employees, faulting them for creating a "taxpayer-funded campaign apparatus" within the White House.

In a 65-page report, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel identified instances in which Trump advisers including Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway used their official authority to promote Trump's 2020 presidential election campaign.

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

OSC said discipline was "no longer possible" because the Trump administration officials have left office, but said it was issuing the report to highlight enforcement challenges and to deter future violations.

"Taken together, the report concludes that the violations demonstrate both a willingness by some in the Trump administration to leverage the power of the executive branch to promote President Trump's reelection and the limits of OSC's enforcement power," OSC said in a news release.

"This failure to impose discipline created the conditions for what appeared to be a taxpayer-funded campaign apparatus within the upper echelons of the executive branch," OSC wrote in the report.

OSC is an independent federal watchdog within the U.S. government that investigates violations of the Hatch Act, a law limiting the political participation and speech of federal employees.

The report was the culmination of an investigation that began while Trump was in office following his decision to hold the 2020 Republican National Convention at the White House.

The Trump administration officials found to have violated the Hatch Act also included his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Stephen Miller, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

Pompeo and Wolf both ignored repeated warnings from career ethics officials that appearing at the political convention would violate the Hatch Act, the report found.

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Jan Wolfe

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