Reporters haven’t asked about Sebelius breaking law in W.H. briefings

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

Reporters covering the White House don’t seem to have many questions about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was last week found in violation of federal law against engaging in political activity while on the job.

A review of transcripts by The Daily Caller indicate that no questions have been asked by the reporters who cover the president about Sebelius during official White House briefings or gaggles since Sept. 12, when the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in a report that the cabinet secretary violated the Hatch Act earlier this year.

It’s still up to President Obama whether Sebelius should keep her job or face some sort of punishment after being found in violation of the Hatch Act. (WATCHDOG: Obama must punish Sebelius or Congress can impeach her)

The ethics office said Sebelius violated the law on Feb. 25 while delivering a speech to Human Rights Campaign while serving in her official capacity as cabinet secretary. In her speech, she called for Obama’s re-election, and the election of the Democratic candidate for governor in North Carolina.

The Hatch Act prohibits certain civil servants in the federal government from engaging in political activity on the job.

“While a violation of the Hatch Act occurred, Secretary Sebelius’ statements would have been permissible if they had been made in her personal capacity,” the report said.

Even though reporters haven’t inquired during press conferences and gaggles, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told The Associated Press that, “These were extemporaneous remarks … the U.S. Treasury has been reimbursed, and Secretary Sebelius has met with ethics experts to ensure this never happens again.”

The news about Sebelius was overshadowed last week by the attacks on America’s diplomats in the Middle East. But Torie Clarke, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld, argued while guest hosting WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall on Monday that a double standard may be at play.

“If it were a Republican official who had done this, the outrage would be continued and loud and would have been on the Sunday talk shows beyond Benghazi and anything else,” Clarke said.

Follow Alex on Twitter