According to a report by Axios, the White House seems to be disregarding the warnings from its own internal watchdog and continuing to use the term “MAGA” in official communications, despite the potential violation of the Hatch Act by staff members.
The Biden administration has consistently portrayed “MAGA Republicans” as a prominent threat while grappling with challenges such as a porous southern border, an uncertain economic outlook and notable incidents like topless transgender activists on the White House lawn.
Nevertheless, the White House’s utilization of the phrase seems to contradict established federal election regulations. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has cautioned the Biden administration about the infringement of the Hatch Act when employing the term “MAGA” in an official capacity.
The Hatch Act is a legislative measure that prohibits elected officials from utilizing government resources for engaging in campaign-related activities.
The Hatch Act is "quite clear…in saying we cannot use our official government capacities for partisan political purposes," said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019. "And if there's any question about that, we ask."
Any comment on Karine Jean-Pierre's Hatch Act violations? pic.twitter.com/ExTxOpD8HE
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 15, 2023
The term “MAGA” is closely associated with the 2016 presidential campaign of former President Donald Trump, primarily because it served as his slogan.
According to a report by Axios, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates circulated a memo on Wednesday that persisted in employing the term. In the memo, Bates asserted that the Republicans’ primary economic agenda revolves around “MAGA tax welfare for the richest Americans and giant corporations, at the expense of continuing to grow our economy by investing in America.”
In a previous instance, Bates made a superficial acknowledgment of the law while simultaneously targeting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis regarding the pronunciation of the Republican presidential candidate’s name. The White House spokesperson tweeted, “We follow the Hatch Act. So we don’t DEE-rectly comment on 2024. Am I saying that right? It’s pronounced DEE-rectly?”
The OSC discovered that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre infringed upon the Hatch Act, which also restricts certain political engagements of federal employees to prevent interference in elections. This violation occurred when she employed the term “Mega MAGA” to criticize Republican policies during a recent podium address.
Jean-Pierre stated this week that she and her team were unaware that the term was inappropriate for official events.
Jean-Pierre has frequently invoked the Hatch Act as a means to evade inquiries pertaining to Biden’s election campaign and other related matters. On Tuesday, she reiterated that adhering to federal law remains a paramount concern for the White House.