Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary, used her official White House Twitter account to post a picture of herself with Kanye West. This action constitutes a violation of ethics rules.
The reason for the ethics issue, according to a Huffington Post report, is that in the photo, West has on a red “Make America Great Again” hat, which is President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. On Friday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. According to the group, Sanders’ Tweet violated the Hatch Act.
Not only did Sanders sent out the tweet, but the White House also included it in its “photos of the week,” according to a Daily Mail report.
The Hatch Act actually prevents Federal employees from using their resources as employees of the Federal government to influence election results. Sanders used her Twitter account in such a manner, which is expressly forbidden. Earlier this year, the special counsel said that any display from a Federal employee of Trump’s MAGA hat violates the Act. The declaration came after Trump announced he planned to run for office again in 2020.
In her tweet, Sanders stood beside the rapper, thanking West for coming to the White House, adding that there is never a dull moment there with Donald Trump. Of course, West is wearing the red cap in the photo. The tweet has received nearly 16,000 retweets since last Thursday.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 11, 2018
In a statement, CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said,
“This administration does not seem to care about what the law says when it comes to ethics issues like using official positions for politics. How many investigations… are needed until this administration takes action to stop the misuse of government resources for political activity?”
This isn’t the first time that officials within the Trump administration have been called out for skirting the Hatch Act. Those who’ve violated the act include United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, spokeswoman for First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham. Similarly, the White House social media director Dan Scavino, as well as counselor Kellyanne Conway, have also broken this rule.
Incidentally, West created an updated version of the red MAGA hat, which simply says, “Make America Great,” and leaves off the word, “again.” West informed people at an Apple store visit that he even got President Trump to don his new cap with the updated slogan.