White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is defending herself amidst allegations that she violated the Hatch Act, which limits political activities by federal employees in an attempt to prevent them from influencing elections. The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) accused Jean-Pierre of violating the act with her use of “Mega MAGA” to describe Republican policies. However, Jean-Pierre argues that Republicans themselves have used the term and that she was unaware that the OSC considered it political.
During a press briefing, Jean-Pierre suggested that the White House did not know it had violated the Hatch Act, and stated that the White House Counsel’s Office is reviewing the OSC’s opinion before responding. She pointed out that the archived Trump White House website contains nearly 2,000 uses of “MAGA” to describe policies and official agendas, and that Congressional Republicans have also used ‘MAGA’ to refer to policies and official agenda frequently for years.
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The violation by Jean-Pierre was allegedly committed last year ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when she repeatedly referred to “mega MAGA Republicans” while acting in her role as White House press secretary. The OSC determined that as she made the statements while acting in her official capacity, she breached the Hatch Act’s prohibition against the use of official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.
Jean-Pierre has frequently cited the Hatch Act to avoid questions relating to Biden’s election campaign and that of others. She emphasized that following federal law is a top priority for the White House.
The offending comments were made during a briefing on November 2, where Jean-Pierre remarked that “we have seen mega MAGA Republican officials who don’t believe in the rule of law. They refuse to accept the results of free and fair elections and they fan the flames of political violence through what they praise and what they refuse to condemn. It remains important for the president to state strongly and unequivocally that violence has no place in our democracy.”
The term “mega MAGA” was introduced by President Biden on October 21 while attacking Republican economic policies as “mega MAGA trickle down.”
In conclusion, Jean-Pierre has denied any wrongdoing in the face of accusations of breaching the Hatch Act, arguing that the White House was unaware that it had made a violation. The OSC accused her of using her official authority to interfere with or affect the outcome of an election by repeatedly referring to “mega MAGA Republicans” while acting in her role of White House press secretary. The White House Counsel’s Office is reviewing the OSC’s opinion, and Jean-Pierre emphasized the top priority of the White House is to follow federal law.