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White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was informed by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that he violated the Hatch Act over a May Twitter post.
The OSC noted the violation in a Wednesday letter to Gene Hamilton, vice president and general counsel at the America First Legal Foundation, who filed the complaint.
“Although OSC has concluded that Mr. Klain violated the Hatch Act, as explained below, we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and instead issued him a warning letter,” Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Hatch Act Unit at the OSC, wrote.
Galindo-Marrone also confirmed Klain’s retweet and the identity of the account involved.
“OSC confirmed that Mr. Klain retweeted a May 22, 2022 message from Strike PAC (@StrikePAC) from his official Twitter account (@WHCOS). The tweet read, ‘Operation Fly Formula delivers 70,000 pounds of infant formula for American mothers and their infants. Thank you @POTUS.’ The tweet also read, ‘Get your Democrats Deliver merch today!’ and included a link to Strike PAC’s online store and an image of the group’s ‘Democrats Deliver’ t-shirt,” she wrote.
Strike PAC is a partisan political group that supports the Democratic Party.
Galindo-Marrone noted that Klain removed the post following notification of the OSC’s complaint.
“Although OSC has concluded that Mr. Klain violated the Hatch Act, we understand that he promptly removed the retweet upon being notified of this complaint,” the letter read.
“Accordingly, we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and will close this matter. Mr. Klain has been warned that if in the future he engages in activity prohibited by the Hatch Act while employed in a covered position, OSC would consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law that could result in disciplinary action,” the letter concluded.
“Using your White House Twitter account to advocate for a PAC is ILLEGAL,” Hamilton said in his statement reacting to the OSC letter.
Klain’s retweet occurred in May. America First Legal sent its request for an ethics investigation of Klain on June 2.
“As OGE’s director, you have the authority to review potential ethics violations and notify the employee’s agency, in this case the White House, of any violations. Based on the evidence, an investigation is clearly called for here,” Reed Rubinstein, senior counselor for America First Legal, wrote at the time.
Klain is not the only Biden administration official to receive a warning regarding a Hatch Act violation. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also received a warning for advocating the election of then-Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.