Watchdog Files Complaint with Federal Authorities Calling for Investigation of HUD Official for Potential Hatch Act Violations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2020
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, sent a letter to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) calling for an investigation into whether HUD Regional Administrator Lynne Patton violated the Hatch Act by using the authority and resources of her office to aid in Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. This year, Patton solicited the participation of four tenants of the New York City Housing Authority to participate in a video praising the President which aired at the 2020 Republican National Convention. If this video, made solely for the purpose of advocating for the election of a political candidate, is found to have been created using resources obtained through Ms. Patton’s public office, it would be a clear violation of the Hatch Act.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Lynne Patton has a track record of violating the Hatch Act, and this misconduct appears to be a clear continence of that behavior.”
The OSC has previously determined that Patton violated the Hatch Act on two separate occasions. First by using her official Twitter account, “@LynnePattonHUD,” to engage in political activity, liking tweets that advocated for and against partisan political candidates, then later by displaying a Trump campaign hat in her HUD office. The OSC warned Ms. Patton at the time of her second violation that “if in the future she engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law, which could result in further action.”
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “For far too long, federal officials have knowingly violated the Hatch Act and gotten away free and clear of any consequences. It’s time that the law is properly enforced to prevent administration officials from abusing their public office.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.