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Pascrell Praises Report Documenting Flood of Trump Admin Hatch Act Crimes

Special Counsel findings reinforce Pascrell demand for Hatch Act reforms, legal accountability against Trump criminals

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today praised a new report from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) finding a torrent of Hatch Act crimes by former officials in the Trump regime and that “at least 13 senior Trump administration officials did violate the Hatch Act prior to the election.” The report states that these “senior Trump administration officials chose to use their official authority not for the legitimate functions of the government, but to promote the reelection of President Trump in violation of the law.” The report responds to a complaint Rep. Pascrell filed following the Trump campaign’s using the White House and Old Executive Office Building as a campaign command center and election day war room.

“The crime spree by Donald Trump and his stooges represents the worst corruption to ever infect the America government,” said Rep. Pascrell. “They made a mockery of the rule of law by either exploiting yawning gaps in the Hatch Act or simply ignoring it altogether. I thank the Special Counsel’s office for acting on my election day complaint. The only way to stop wrongdoing in government is by identifying and going after criminals who use public office to line their pockets and corruptly retain power. The next step is seeing some of these crooks prosecuted for what they’ve done and passing the Pascrell/Warren Political Crimes Act to finally put teeth into the Hatch Act.”

Some of the Special Counsel’s recommendations include:

  • Creating OSC authority to pursue Senate-confirmed appointees who break the law. Section 4 of Rep. Pascrell’s legislation will expand the definition of covered individuals under the Hatch Act to include the President and Vice President and eliminates the exception for political appointees and Senate-confirmed positions.
  • Enshrining OSC jurisdiction over former federal employees. Section 2 of Rep. Pascrell’s bill addresses this by creating an Independent Counsel to pursue Hatch violations.
  • Creating clarity to pursue White House employees who violate the Hatch Act. Section 4 of Rep. Pascrell’s legislation clarifies the definition of  federal property under the Hatch Act to include any vehicle, building, or land owned or leased by  the Government, including the White House and White House grounds, Executive  Residence, and the Rose Garden.

Rep. Pascrell is one of Congress’s leading members opposing government corruption and seeking enforcement of the Hatch Act. On August 25, 2021, Pascrell and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Political CRIMES Act, legislation to strengthen the Hatch Act to better stop the self-enrichment by government officials that was rampant in the Trump regime.

The Political CRIMES Act will hold wrongdoing accountable by:

  • Establishing an Independent Counsel to probe all Hatch Act violations occurring during the previous 10 years
  • Creating an Inspector General in the Office of Special Counsel to ensure future investigations are conducted within the boundaries of current law
  • Removing any political interference in the violation referral process
  • Expanding individuals covered by the Hatch Act and clarify where the Hatch Act applies
  • Adding a criminal penalty for Hatch Act violations for the first time
  • Increasing the Hatch Act fine violation to $5,000, which would double for every subsequent violation
  • Requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of any political events held on the White House grounds

During the Trump administration, Rep. Pascrell was a leading member of Congress highlighting Hatch Act violations by Kellyanne Conway, Trump family members, and other top officials. On Election Day 2020, Pascrell sent an emergency plea to the U.S. Special Counsel demanding a federal probe of plans by the Trump regime to use the White House and Old Executive Office Building as a campaign day command center and Election Day war room.

A section-by-section breakdown of the Pascrell and Warren Political CRIMES Act is available here.

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