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Trump's legal team reminds White House staff of Hatch Act restrictions

Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 08, 2018

 White House staff were reminded Wednesday of the restrictions they must follow after top aide Kellyanne Conway was reprimanded for violating the law prohibiting federal employees from using their official government capacity for partisan ends.

The White House counsel's office sent a memo Wednesday night to staff highlighting the new Hatch Act guidance issued Monday by the Office of Special Counsel -- which is separate from the Justice Department's special counsel's office. President Donald Trump's legal team cautioned staff to remove all campaign materials from their workplaces now that his reelection efforts are underway. This includes bumper stickers, buttons, signs, T-shirts, and the "Make America Great Again" hats.


On Monday, the Office of Special Counsel released a new set of guidelines that advised federal employees overall on what they can and can't do -- which stated that they could no longer show political support for Trump such as displaying memorabilia from his 2016 campaign, along with other restrictions. Wednesday's memo informed White House employees that they are subject to the same restrictions.

The memo reminded staffers that they aren't allowed to display unofficial photos of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, or any candidate in their offices.

Under the Hatch Act, staffers are also restricted from using the campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" or "MAGA," in official White House communications or posting it to their personal social media accounts while they're working.

The memo appears to be the latest effort from the White House counsel to ensure that Trump's staffers are complying with the Hatch Act after the Office of the Special Counsel announced Tuesday that Conway violated the law on two occasions by "advocating for and against candidates" in Alabama's Senate special election last year.

The memo also comes a week after an ethics watchdog filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel against Jared Kushner.

Trump announced last Tuesday he had hired Brad Parscale, the digital media director of his 2016 campaign, as his 2020 campaign manager.

The announcement of Parscale's hiring included a quote from Kushner and identified him as "Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President, and President Trump's son-in-law."

The same day, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether Kushner violated the Hatch Act.

The campaign later removed the mention of Kushner as Trump's son-in-law from the announcement posted to its website.