President Joe Biden does not mess around. He is a man on a century-changing mission, making America the shining example it once was. This involves inspiring thousands of government employees to meet his objectives. Take the mind-stunning speed and complexity of vaccinating the entire country or returning blue-collar and middle classes back to their healthy selves. In order to accomplish these Herculean tasks, the Biden administration must function like a well-oiled machine. That means zero tolerance for people outside of his ethics.
A former Donald Trump appointee has admitted to violating federal law by producing a video that aired during the Republican National Convention (RNC) last year. The video contended that the New York City Housing Authority (HUD) improved under Trump. By doing this, she violated the Hatch Act.
That meant the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administrator for the New York and New Jersey region, Lynne Patterson, was in big trouble. She was appointed by Donald Trump and served at the New York City Housing Authority from 2017 until 2021.
The Hatch Act limits the political activities of federal government employees. When the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigated Patterson, it found:
‘She] leveraged relationships she forged during a month spent living in public housing as part of her job to recruit tenants for the video.’
The OSC’s primary responsibilities include enforcing the Hatch Act. The office released a statement that read:
‘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.’
Patton was the first high-ranking member of the Biden administration to be punished under the Hatch Act. She agreed to a settlement with OSC, according to The Wall Street Journal.
She settled for a $1000 civil fine, admission of guilt, and being barred from working in the U.S. government for four years. In a statement to The Gothamist/WNYC, Patton said she had received permission and legal guidance from the HUD Office of the General Counsel & Ethics for the video and:
‘[Patton] followed their instructions to a T. [But she later learned after leaving, it was] incorrect and/or incomplete legal advice. I will never regret creating a Republican National Convention video that highlighted the permanent and continued improvements being made to the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) thanks to the efforts of President [Donald] Trump, Secretary [Ben] Carson and myself.’
President of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) Noah Bookbinder filed the complaint against Patton in Washington, D.C. He indicated in a statement that he was “gratified” with the outcome:
‘Even in an administration marked by a callous disregard for ethics laws, Lynne Patton stood out. What made her behavior particularly egregious was that she not only used her position for political purposes, she misled and exploited public housing residents for political gain, showing little regard for the people she was supposed to be helping and the ethics rules she was supposed to be following.’
In its follow-up interview with Gothamist, Bookbinder noted that this discipline was about sending an “important message:’
‘The idea of government employees and administration officials misusing government for politics—that’s a recurring issue and a recurring problem. If we want to discourage those kinds of abuses going forward, you have to have consequences when people do it.’
During Trump’s term:
- ‘200 federal employees were found to have violated the Hatch Act
- ‘[I]ncluding at least 17 political appointees
- The OSC reprimanded them, but
- The White House did not take further disciplinary action against any of the Trump appointees.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.