Two distinct responsibilities of govt are: (1) to use the power we give it solely for the benefit of all of us, (2) demonstrate that it’s using the power solely for the benefit of all of us. The 2nd of these is important too. So I have questions about the Lynne Patton decision./1
Asking questions is the responsibility of citizens in a republic. Govt officials should understand that and comport themselves professionally when confronted with questions, instead of lashing out at the questioners. The questions don’t suggest answers. They are only questions./2
So here are questions for OSC:
1. Is Lynne Patton the 1st political appointee to pay a Hatch Act fine? If so, why? If not, who else was assessed a fine?
2. Is she the first political appointee to be barred from govt service for 4 years? If so, why? If not, who else? /3
Senate-confirmed appointees (PAS) are treated differently under the law, so these questions exclude PAS.
3. Did you close any investigation of a non-PAS political appointee after they quit? If so, who? And why was Patton’s investigation handled different?
4. Did you decline to open an investigation of any non-PAS political appointee after they resigned? If so, who and why?
5. Did you continue an investigation of another non-PAS political appointee after they resigned? If so, who?
6. If your view is that Presidential Appointees (PA) are exempt from civil monetary penalties, how do you reconcile that view with the plain language of 5 U.S.C. 1215(b), which exempts *only* Senate-confirmed appointees (PAS) from civil monetary penalties?
7. If your view is that the civil monetary penalty adjustments that periodically raise the amounts assessed don't apply to Hatch Act penalties, why didn't you object when MSPB, OPM and OMB's OIRA promulgated regulations on multiple occasions raising them above $1,000? And... /7
isn't MSPB the agency responsible for interpreting the civil monetary penalty law, inasmuch as it's the only agency authorized to impose involuntary civil monetary penalties on officials for Hatch Act violations?…
The responsibility for implementing an ethics law includes transparency regarding its implementation. These are legitimate questions when a lower-level Black female appointee may be the first appointee penalized. There may be legitimate answers. So far, you haven't offered any./9

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More from @waltshaub

8 Apr
OSC argues it has no authority to seek a fine against a presidential appointee like Kelleyanne Conway, but DOJ is suing Omarosa Manigault Newman for a fine. Why? Because the executive branch believes presidential appointees aren't exempt from fines related to their employment.
The White House itself imposed a $200 fine on another presidential appointee, Jared Kushner, when he missed the deadline for filing a financial disclosure report. Presidential appointees are not exempt from fines for violating ethics laws like the Hatch Act.
OSC's argument is that 3 U.S.C. § 105(a) exempts presidential appointees from any other law affecting their employment. The Office of Legal Counsel has expressly rejected this idea with regard to the Hatch Act Reform Amendments (HARA), which was enacted after 3 U.S.C. § 105(a).
Read 16 tweets
8 Apr
Patton says she relied on advice from ethics officials. If true, that’s a major mitigating factor, making it strange she suffered the harshest penalty in history. In contrast, OSC simply accepted Chad Wolf’s entirely implausible claim he didn’t know he was filming an RNC video./1
Wolf PERSONALLY performed a naturalization ceremony, something Secretaries don’t normally do, for vulnerable immigrants he took to the WHITE HOUSE FOR POTUS, WHOM HE PRAISED ON CAMERA, ON THE DAY OF THE RNC. He didn’t know it was for the RNC? BS! Yet OSC believes the white guy./2
I don’t blame those who filed the complaint. It was an important complaint to file. She deserved to be found guilty. But what Americans deserve, living as we do in a country with two justice systems, is an explanation from OSC regarding the penalty. Why doesn’t OSC get that? /3
Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
The Interior Department made 2 videos that were obvious campaign ads for Trump. No one at the Interior Department was held accountable. Over at HUD, Lynne Patton did the same and became the only Trump appointee fined for a Hatch Act violation. Why Patton?…
In finding Lynne Patton guilty, OSC said she used renters in a video shown at the RNC. Chad Wolf brought immigrants live and in-person to the White House in a pandemic for a naturalization ceremony that was used as a centerpiece at the RNC. Why is Patton guilty and not Wolf?
OSC said Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act dozens of times and said Patton violated it twice. Both are political appointees. Neither’s covered by an exception for Senate-confirmed appointees. OSC *recommended* action against Conway. OSC banned Patton from govt for 4 years.
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
This is very good. But it also raises a question as to why OSC didn't seek fines against Kellyanne Conway for her dozens of violations. The law exempts Senate-confirmed political appointees from fines. Other political appointees, like Conway and Patton, are not exempt.
Here's another odd feature of this decision. OSC often closes investigations when someone leaves government. I don't agree with that practice, but it bears noting they closed a Hatch Act violation of Comey when he left government. I'd like to see statistics on such closures.
Here's a letter from a Senator noting that “OSC historically closes Hatch Act investigations of individuals who separate from federal service.” Again, I disagree with that practice, but I'd be curious to know if there had been exceptions in the past.…
Read 10 tweets
4 Apr
Do only hipster doofuses (doofi?) say that something “slaps” or is this a thing now?
It’s like that year people in my high school said things were “sporty.” It was as if they’d all changed their name to Chad and hankered to wear a sweater over their preppy shoulders.
Listen, you ginchy hep cats, if using rad phrases is important to you, that’s boss. Twenty-three skiddoo! Be as groovy as you want. Just stop using “bop” to describe any kind of music that isn’t a form of jazz. Because that’s totally bogus and not fetch. Far out.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
DOJ has continued to pursue its lawsuit against Omarosa Manigault Newman for failing to file a termination report, even though she eventually filed it. Weirdly, DOJ's argument is that she filed it late. But the law imposes a $200 late fee. DOJ wants $65,585 for her lateness.🤔
Technically, DOJ's argument is that she must pay the civil monetary penalties for failing to file a financial disclosure report, even though she did file it (because she was late in filing it). Discovery is ongoing. Yesterday, the parties submitted a joint status report.
DOJ also hinges its argument on a claim that her tardy termination report is not complete. Whether that's true or not is a factual issue, however. (I haven't seen the report.)
Read 4 tweets

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