The Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan watchdog group, on Friday called for an investigation into White House senior adviser Steve Bannon’s reported use of a private spokesperson.
“Once again, it appears the White House is ignoring longstanding government ethics rules, this time by outsourcing White House press office functions to an unpaid private public relations consultant,” Larry Noble, CLC’s senior director and general counsel, said in a statement.
Bannon has been using an outside public relations professional who is not on the White House payroll to field his media requests as a Trump adviser, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
Media inquires from CPI about Bannon were answered by Alexandra Preate, a spokesperson he’s worked with since his time at Breitbart News. Preate is not employed by the White House, but has responded to inquiries about Bannon’s work in the administration and worked with other White House officials to coordinate those responses, per CPI’s report.
In a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Office of Government Ethics Acting Director David Apol, CLC asked those offices to look into whether Bannon has broken any laws or regulations by using an outside spokesperson.
CLC argued that Bannon’s use of a private spokesperson may violate the Antideficiency Act, which states that a government employee cannot accept “voluntary services” for the government. Bannon also may be violating a rule barring executive branch employees from accepting gifts “because of the employee’s official position,” according to CLC.