Homeland Security Chair Wants Hatch Act Probe Of RNC Naturalization Ceremony At WH

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a naturalization ceremony for new citizens ... CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a naturalization ceremony for new citizens in a pre-recorded video broadcasted during the virtual convention on August 25, 2020. The convention is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic but will include speeches from various locations including Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, DC. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 27, 2020 11:34 a.m.

The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday called for an investigation into whether Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf broke the law and politicized his position in government.

Wolf on Tuesday, with the President by his side, performed a naturalization ceremony at the White House for five new American citizens. The Republican Party then used the ceremony as programming on the second night of its national convention.

The Trump administration has said that the naturalization ceremony was like others that have occurred at the White House, and that the GOP had a right to use it in their convention, but ethics experts have slammed the display as anti-democratic, and potentially illegal. At least two participants in the ceremony later told the Wall Street Journal they had no idea it would be used as RNC material.

“This is an unprecedented politicization of the naturalization ceremony – an official function of the Department of Homeland Security,” Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote to the Office of Special Counsel, requesting an investigation.

The OSC has investigated numerous Hatch Act violations during the Trump administration and reprimanded several officials for using their government posts for politics. But the reprimands have had little noticeable affect — the hits keep coming.

The OSC, last year, even suggested White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway be removed from her position for her repeated Hatch Act violations. She is leaving her job at the end of this month, voluntarily, but only after speaking at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.

In addition to Thompson’s letter, two House Democrats on Wednesday separately asked the OSC to examine whether the naturalization ceremony — as well as a live use of the President’s pardon power — violated the Hatch Act. And Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) has asked State Department about what resources Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used when he addressed the RNC during an official trip to the Middle East.

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