Meadows: RNC Hatch Act Worries Are 'a Lot of Hoopla'

'Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2020 1:39 PM CDT
Meadows: RNC Hatch Act Worries Are 'a Lot of Hoopla'
President Trump stands on stage as he visits the Republican National Committee convention site, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is at right.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Republican National Convention has featured what analysts say is an unprecedented blurring of the lines between campaigning and governing—but White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has dismissed concerns about violations of the Hatch Act. Legal observers believe the 1939 act, which bans most executive branch employees from engaging in political activity, was violated numerous times in the first two days of the RNC, especially when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on an official, taxpayer-funded trip to the Middle East, delivered a speech from Jerusalem, the Guardian reports. Democrats say they are planning to launch an investigation, but Meadows argues that the act is being stretched beyond its original intent. Meadows claims the act was only meant to ensure that federal employees like himself didn't pressure other employees to vote a certain way.

"Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats," he tells Politico. "This is a lot of hoopla that's being made about things, mainly because the convention has been so unbelievably successful." President Trump plans to deliver his acceptance speech from the White House Thursday. He is exempt from the Hatch Act, but the Office of Special Counsel has warned that other federal employees involved could be violating the act. Former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah accuses the Trump administration of "normalizing" the use of the White House "as a political backdrop." "It’s never been done before for a reason," she tweeted Tuesday. "It’s a violation of the Hatch Act, it’s a misuse of government resources & an abuse of power.” (More Hatch Act stories.)

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