Top Trump Official Banned From Federal Employment For 4 Years Over Hatch Act Violation

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) just announced they reached a settlement with a former top Trump official that will bar her from federal employment for four years. Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official Lynne Patton was a Trump appointee who was accused of violating the Hatch Act over a video she produced for last year’s Republican National Convention.

“During her approximately one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration,” the OSC said in a statement.

“By using information and NYCHA connections available to her solely by virtue of her HUD position, Patton improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign in violation of the Hatch Act,” the statement continued.

From Forbes:

Patton will be fined $1,000 and barred from serving in the federal government for 48 months, putting her among a small group of Trump political appointees punished for violating the Hatch Act.

Patton was found to have used her role as a regional HUD administrator to stay in New York public housing for a month and “leveraged” a relationship she made during her stay to “recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC.”

Several of the tenants who appeared in the video, which was highly critical of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and heaped praise on former President Trump, later said they were tricked into appearing and stated they are not Trump supporters.

Ethics watchdogs had flagged alleged Hatch Act violations by a number of Trump officials during the convention, including former HUD Secretary Ben Carson, though Patton’s were seen as some of the most egregious.

Patton admitted to having “improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign,” a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits most federal government employees from using their positions for partisan purposes.

The Hatch Act was often dismissed by the Trump administration, which saw far more allegations of ethics violations than previous administrations. Several Trump officials faced punishment, including former Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, though many others accused of repeated violations, like former senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and trade adviser Peter Navarro, have evaded repercussions.

Other Trump administration officials remain under investigation for alleged Hatch Act violations, including several that occurred during the convention.

The most notable among them is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who delivered his GOP convention speech during an official visit to Israel. The OSC vowed in September to conduct a “fair and even-handed investigation.”