Biden Administration Using White House Website to Campaign Against Republicans?

Susan Jones | October 27, 2022 | 7:33am EDT
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(Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House website is warning that Republicans "plan to increase inflation and costs" for Americans.

On Thursday morning, the top item on the "Briefing Room" web page -- where White House staffers post statements, “fact sheets,” transcripts, and news releases -- reads as follows:

"Congressional Republicans’ Five-Part Plan to Increase Inflation and Costs for American Families."

"Congressional Republicans have laid out their mega MAGA trickle-down economic plan clearly," the news release says. "Their economic plan will raise costs and make inflation worse. Their five part plan includes:

-- "$3 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy";

-- "Raising prescription drug costs for millions of seniors" (by repealing the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which is mostly a green energy bill with a few goodies thrown in to make it seem like cost reduction);

-- "Increasing health insurance premiums" (by repealing the so-called Inflation Reduction Act);

-- "Increasing energy bills in 2023 and beyond (by repealing the clean energy provisions, including tax credits for EVs, provided in the Inflation Reduction Act);

-- "Increasing student loan payments" (by reversing Biden's possibly unconstitutional move to cancel some debt for some students).

(Notably, the news release is not labeled a “fact sheet.”)

(Oct. 27 news release posted on White House "Briefing Room" web page)
(Oct. 27 news release posted on White House 'Briefing Room' web page)

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, "The Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees..."

The OSC does not offer specific guidance on the White House "Briefing Room" webpage. However, it does say that all federal civilian executive branch employees, except for the president and the vice president, are covered by the Hatch Act.

"Partisan political activity" is defined as "any activity directed toward the success or failure of a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group."

The Office of Special Counsel says it recognizes that many federal agencies disseminate "news clips" to employees. "And doing so, without more, does not violate the Hatch Act," OSC said.

"During an election season, however, many news articles are about candidates and elections, and the circulation of such materials could raise Hatch Act concerns. Accordingly, agencies that circulate news clips to their employees should be mindful not to include articles, op-eds, or political commentary pieces that are directed at the success or failure of a political party, partisan political group, or candidate for partisan political office."

On Wednesday, as the New York Post reported, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was warned that he violated the Hatch Act by retweeting a message urging people to purchase “Democrats Deliver” merchandise.

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