Watchdog group files ethics complaint against White House press secretary Jen Psaki

Psaki is accused of campaigning for Terry McAullife from behind the White House podium

Updated: October 15, 2021 - 6:13pm

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A government watchdog group on Friday announced that it filed an ethics complaint against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for allegedly violating the Hatch Act.

According to The Hill, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) alleged that Psaki violated the oversight law by appearing to endorse the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s gubernatorial race, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, during a press briefing.

The Hatch Act bars federal employees from campaigning for a specific candidate or political cause while in their position as federal employees.

On Thursday Psaki was asked by a reporter about the political environment surrounding the upcoming Virginia election. The Hill notes that Psaki did say she wasn’t campaigning from behind the White House podium, however, she continued by saying "we’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”

These comments are what sparked the watchdog group’s Hatch Act filing against the press secretary. However, CREW did note that the previous administration was accused of numerous Hatch Act violations.

“The last administration systematically co-opted the government for the president’s reelection,” Said CREW president Noah Bookbinder. “While this conduct does not come close to rising to the level of the outrageous offenses of the Trump administration, that does not mean we should be casual about compliance with an important ethics law.”

Psaki addressed the ethics complaint during an interview on CNN, saying she would “be more careful” with her words next time.