After using Hatch Act as excuse not to answer questions, Jean-Pierre violates it

 June 13, 2023

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has often used the Hatch Act as a reason not to answer perfectly legitimate questions from reporters, but the Office of Special Counsel found that she violated that law last year in the lead-up to the midterm elections.

The Hatch Act is aimed at preventing federal employing from saying or doing things that influence elections, including political speech.

Acting in her professional capacity, Jean-Pierre referred to some Republicans as "mega MAGA Republicans" during a briefing, which falls under the political speech category.

"Unfortunately, we have seen mega MAGA Republican officials who don’t believe in the rule of law. They refuse to accept the results of free and fair elections and they fan the flames of political violence through what they praise and what they refuse to condemn. It remains important for the President to state strongly and unequivocally that violence has no place in our democracy," she said on November 2.

Biden coined term

"Because Ms. Jean‐Pierre made the statements while acting in her official capacity, she violated the Hatch Act prohibition against using her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election," the agency wrote in a June 7 letter shared with NBC News.

President Joe Biden coined the term "mega MAGA" on October 21 during a speech, calling Republican policies "mega MAGA trickle down."

The agency said the comments were "inappropriate" but did not take further action. White House Counsel said it didn't think her comments were prohibited but issued Jean-Pierre a warning letter.

A White House official commented to Fox News about the letter, "As has been made clear throughout the administration, we take the law seriously and uphold the Hatch Act. We are reviewing this opinion."

It was pointed out that former President Donald Trump used the phrase "Make America Great Again" in his policies thousands of times while president, and other Republicans also used MAGA in policy proposals.

The real election deniers

Republicans reacting to Jean-Pierre's November comments on Twitter pointed out that she seemed to be using the heightened language to avoid talking about substantive proposals to fix the lackluster economy and deal with problems brought on or exacerbated by Biden during his presidenct.

"This is incredible. Democrats are BEGGING them to come up with an economic message or something to help them out, and they're sticking with ‘Ultra Mega Maga Republicans.’ Even though plenty of Democrat polling tells them that message is a huge dud," Republican communicator Matt Whitlock tweeted at the time.

The context of Jean-Pierre and Biden criticizing Republicans for denying election results was also questioned by Republicans, who pointed out that many Democrats had questioned election results in 2016 after Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the electoral vote but lost the popular vote.

"In the 21st century, Democrats and corporate media have not allowed a single Republican president to take office without denying his claim to legitimate victory," The Federalist staff editor Sam Mangold-Lenett remarked.

In all likelihood, Jean-Pierre and other officials will continue to do many things to interfere in elections, because for the most part they get away with it.

Her comments are actually the least of those efforts, which have included getting former intelligence officials to deny that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic and using the COVID-19 pandemic to loosen voting rules so that massive fraud had the potential to occur (but wasn't definitively proven).

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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