Report: Obama uses Hagel, DOD communications to push politics

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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A member of the Obama administration may yet again be in violation of the Hatch Act after using Department of Defense communications over the weekend to promote partisan messaging about the government shutdown.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, on behalf of President Barack Obama, forwarded a political message addressed to “all US government employees,” according to a  Monday report by The American Spectator.

The message, sent using a DoD communications channel, praised the work of the U.S. government’s employees and blamed the shutdown on the House of Representatives.

“This shutdown was completely preventable,” said Obama. “It should not have happened, and the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and funds your work in the United States government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process.”

Obama’s references to the House of Representatives are generally about the House Republicans.

The Hatch Act of 1939, also called An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a federal law prohibiting public employees from engaging in political activity.

Hagel, being a presidential nominee confirmed by the Senate, qualifies as a “further restricted” employee and is subject to some of the strictest restrictions regulating the political activity of DoD civilian employees.

Under the DoD’s “Partisan Political Activity Rules for “Further Restricted” DoD Civilians, political activity is defined as “an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group.”

This is not the first time the Obama administration has been under fire for violating the Hatch Act.

The Office of Special Counsel found that Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius broke the law by violating the Hatch Act in 2012 when she campaigned for Obama in North Carolina.

Despite having broken the law, however, the White House continues to support her.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar may have also violated the Hatch Act by participating in an Obama campaign rally in Colorado in Oct. 2012. Salazar vacated his cabinet position at the end of his term in April, however, escaping potential legal consequences.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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