Karine Jean-Pierre Violated Hatch Act With ‘MAGA Republicans’ Comments, Government Watchdog Finds

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre violated ethics rules by using the phrase “MAGA Republicans” in her official capacity ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to the Office of Special Counsel, a government watchdog that enforces the Hatch Act.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) found that Jean-Pierre violated the Hatch Act, which forbids executive branch employees from using their position to influence an election or engage in political activity, by making derogatory comments about Republicans during official press briefings. The office sent her a warning letter rather than pursuing disciplinary actions. (RELATED: ‘Things Happen’: Karine Jean-Pierre Defends Biden’s Falls)

“Ms. Jean‐Pierre used the phrase ‘MAGA Republicans’ repeatedly during official press briefings prior to the November 2022 midterm election,” the OSC wrote. “Although Ms. Jean‐Pierre never expressly instructed viewers to vote for or against Republican candidates for elected office, OSC concluded that the timing, frequency, and content of Ms. Jean‐Pierre’s references to ‘MAGA Republicans’ established that she made those references to generate opposition to Republican candidates. Accordingly, making the references constituted political activity.”

The OSC’s determination was in response to a complaint filed by Protect the Public’s Trust, a government watchdog organization.

The White House Counsel’s Office did not believe the comments violated the Hatch Act at the time, and it remains unclear whether Jean-Pierre knew that the OSC had determined that such language did violate the Hatch Act, according to the watchdog. If Jean-Pierre engages in similar conduct again, the OSC will consider it a “knowing and willful violation of the law” and pursue disciplinary actions.

The OSC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. The White House declined to comment.

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