Customs employee says DHS used federal resources to help Trump’s reelection campaign
A new report claims federal employees violated the Hatch Act the day before the 2020 election.
An anonymous source revealed federal resources may have been used to further President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign efforts the day before the 2020 election.
According to Independent, the source shared their belief that authorities at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security violated the Hatch Act of 1939 by speaking favorably of Trump during an event in Arizona. The Hatch Act prevents executive branch employees from partisan political activities while acting in a professional capacity. The report alleges leaders at the DHS used press conferences scheduled to discuss immigration policy to instead praise the current commander-in-chief.
The employee, a senior staffer at Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) told Independent that DHS employees were in violation of the Act after senior immigration officials made a last-minute decision to update the location of a press conference scheduled to take place the day before Election Day. The event was moved from Washington DC to Arizona, a battleground state. The source says the change would have been discussed and settled on abruptly over the weekend.
During the press conference, which was slated to discuss new Twitter protocol which marked Trump’s tweets as misleading, speakers focused on the president’s commitment to cracking down on undocumented immigrants. According to Independent, DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan repeatedly offered POTUS accolades for his immigration policy.
Independent reported Cuccinelli said he supported “President Trump’s diplomatic leadership” and that the efforts made by social media platforms and news outlets to curtail his falsehoods “unfairly criticized this president for simply doing what he said he would do.”
According to the news report, Morgan asserted that his comments were “apolitical,” and added, “When I say that this president listened and this president delivered, that’s just a fact.”
Still, the anonymous employee questioned the reasoning for the location change from CBP headquarters to a state crucial to winning the 2020 presidential election.
“It was unclear to me why the press conference needed to be moved from Washington, D.C.,” they said to Independent.
He told the British news outlet the action risked “eroding the DHS’s ability to do its job and its perception of neutrality and being above politics.”
Donald Sherman, the deputy director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog organization, said to Independent that while the violations of the Hatch Act are not always clear cut, the event continued “part of a pattern of practice of the administration using, really, every official event and the resources of the federal government to help the president’s campaign.”
CREW says at least 14 senior Trump political appointees have been cited by the Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Act. Some individuals, like former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, have been charged with around two dozen Hatch Act violations.
“That kind of abuse of federal law for partisan politics at the highest level of the government is unprecedented,” Sherman said to Independent. “It’s absolutely outrageous and it is detrimental to our democracy, but it is hardly surprising given this administration’s track record.”
This is not the only instance where Trump’s reelection campaign efforts have been called into question. As theGrio reported, the administration attempted to use $250M in taxpayer designated for COVID-19 education and awareness campaign to help his changes of winning a second term.
The 2020 Presidential election was called for President-elect Joe Biden on Nov. 7 when the former vice president earned the necessary 270 electoral votes to win. President Trump has yet to concede and continues to question the legitimacy of the results with lawsuits in several states.
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