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Watchdog group says press secretary Jean-Pierre and spokesperson Bates violated the Hatch Act

This act does not apply to the president or the vice president. 

Published: December 2, 2023 11:27am

An independent government watchdog agency has said that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and deputy press secretary Andrew Bates had failed to comply with the Hatch Act. 

In a letter first obtained by NBC News, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) stated that Jean-Pierre and Bates' actions were "contrary" to official guidance regarding the Hatch Act with their frequent use of the term "MAGA." 

In a memo in October, Bates criticized Republicans use of the term "radical MAGAnomics policies." The OSC stated that Jean-Pierre was in violation of the Hatch Act with her criticism of the "MAGA'' Republicans' 2023 budget plan, NBC News reports.

The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees in the government. Its purpose is to "ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion." 

This act does not apply to the president or the vice president. 

In June of this year, Jean-Pierre was sent a letter from the OSC, warning her to stop using the term “mega MAGA Republicans” as it is deemed political and not appropriate.

A White House spokesperson told NBC News, “We take the law seriously and uphold the Hatch Act.” 

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