White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday dismissed criticisms of Trump administration officials for speaking to the Republican National Convention in apparent violation of the Hatch Act of 1939.
The law prevents employees of the federal government’s executive branch from engaging in certain kinds of political activity, including soliciting activities or contributions to political causes. Critics have alleged that certain aspects of the RNC may have violated the law, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem and acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf’s participation in a naturalization ceremony at the White House.
“What it’s really designed to do is to make sure people like myself and others do not use their political position to try to convince other employees other federal employees that they need to vote one way, need to register one way or need to campaign in one way,” Meadows told Politico on Wednesday. “We take it on well beyond the original intent of the Hatch Act.”
Meadows added, “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats.”
Besides Pompeo and Wolf, National Economic Director Larry Kudlow and adviser Kellyanne Conway have also appeared at the RNC. The Democratic National Convention of 2012 featured health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, an Obama appointee who oversaw the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.