Watchdog: Psaki violated ethics law by promoting McAuliffe

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A government watchdog group said on Friday that it had filed an ethical complaint against White House press secretary Jen Psaki for remarks made about former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who is running for his old post. are.

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The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Psaki violated the Hatch Act when she appeared to support McAuliffe during a White House press briefing on Thursday. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political work while performing their official duties.

Responding to a reporter’s question about Virginia’s November 2 election, Psaki said, “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he represents. are doing.”


Shortly before commenting in support of McAuliffe, Psaki said he needed to “be careful about how much political analysis he conducted in his official capacity”.

After the crew filed his complaint, Psaki said in an interview with CNN on Friday that he should have used the word “he” instead of “we” in response to the question.

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“While the president has publicly expressed his support for McAuliffe, we will leave it to the press and the campaign to comment on it,” Psaki said in a statement. “I take ethics very seriously and will choose my words more carefully going forward.”

Early voting is underway in Virginia, where McAuliffe faces Republican Glenn Youngkin, a former top executive at private equity firm Carlyle Group. First Lady Jill Biden is campaigning with McAuliffe on Friday, and McAuliffe said President Joe Biden is expected in the coming days.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, the Office of the Special Counsel, which is tasked with enforcing the Hatch Act, officially reported several of Trump’s aides to ethics violations and asked the president to bar his senior counsel Kellyanne Conway. -Bar called for sacking for ignoring the rules. It is up to the president to determine any appropriate disciplinary action for workers who violate the law, and Trump declined to take action against Conway or others.

In a statement about the Saki complaint, Crew Chairman Noah Bookbinder referred to the major and repeated violations of the Hatch Act by the Trump White House.

“While (Saki’s) conduct doesn’t come close to rising to the level of the Trump administration’s outrageous crimes, that doesn’t mean we should be casual about complying with an important ethical law,” the bookbinder said. “The Biden administration should not be following the Trump administration on that path.”


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