Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra violated the Hatch Act after he advocated for the election of a Democrat, a new investigation found.
Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said in a letter to President Joe Biden that Becerra spoke “in his official capacity” at an awards gala in September of 2022, breaking the law.
“As explained in the accompanying report, OSC concluded that Secretary Becerra violated the Hatch Act by expressing support for Senator Alex Padilla’s reelection while speaking in his official capacity at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Annual Awards Gala on September 15, 2022,” Kerner wrote.
“In delivering his speech, Secretary Becerra impermissibly mixed his personal electoral preference with official remarks,” the letter continued. “While federal employees are permitted to express support for candidates when speaking in their personal capacity, the Hatch Act restricts employees from doing so when speaking as a government official.”
OSC says Sect. Becerra violated the Hatch Act. pic.twitter.com/Cyh5wWIA06
— Philip Bump (@pbump) April 18, 2023
“With a presidential election approaching next year, this report offers an opportunity to deter violations by reminding federal employees at all levels of the Hatch Act’s restrictions.” (RELATED: Biden HHS Secretary Unable To Say How Many Gov’t Workers Actually Show Up To Work In Federal Buildings)
“While I did not realize at the time that my off-the-cuff remarks concerning my personal voting intentions were in violation of the Hatch Act, I now understand why they were not permitted.”