House Dems Ask Gov’t Watchdog Agency To Probe RNC Programming For Ethics Law Violations

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Jon Ponder (L), a convicted bank robber and founder of Hope for Prisoners, hi... CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Jon Ponder (L), a convicted bank robber and founder of Hope for Prisoners, his wife Jamie Ponder (R) and former FBI agent Richard Beasley (2R) look on as U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document granting clemency to Ponder 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 26, 2020 6:29 p.m.

Two House Democrats have asked the U.S. Office of Special Counsel — the government agency in charge of policing the Hatch Act — to examine whether two events filmed at the White House and broadcast at the Republican National Convention Tuesday violated the law, which prohibits most federal employees from engaging in official acts for the purpose of benefiting a political campaign.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-D) and Don Beyer (D-VA) asked the agency to look particularly at segments the RNC aired Tuesday night that featured President Trump pardoning an ex-felon and his acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf presiding over a naturalization ceremony.

The Dems want OSC to investigate whether “Wolf and other senior members of the Trump Administration” violated the law by “using their positions, official resources, and the White House itself, to participate in the Republican National Convention.”

The two events were filmed at the White House, and the Trump administration hasn’t denied that White House staff were involved in the staging and production of the events.

However, it has claimed that there was no violation of the law. A White House official told TPM Wednesday morning that it posted footage of the “official” White House events on its YouTube account Tuesday afternoon, making them available to the public, and that “the campaign decided to use the publically (sic) available content for campaign purposes.”

The House Democrats’ letter to OSC explicitly pushed back on that explanation.

“The publicization of the event offers no defense for actions clearly orchestrated for the purpose of influencing an election as part of a nationally televised partisan event carefully planned days, if not weeks, in advance,” they wrote.

Read the letter below:

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