It shouldn’t surprise us, should it? I mean, of course, Hillary Clinton would be most comfortable surrounding herself with people who are acquainted and comfortable with breaking the law.
On Monday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) released their report which found that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and one of the most often discussed choices for Hillary Clinton’s VP, Julian Castro, violated the Hatch Act and broke federal law when he voiced his support for Hillary Clinton during an interview back in April.
Castro was speaking to Yahoo News when he was asked about Clinton’s likely bid for the presidency. Castro responded by praising Clinton and then criticizing all of her likely opponents in the Republican Party.
As explained in the accompanying report, OSC concluded that Secretary Castro violated the Hatch Act by advocating for and against Presidential candidates while giving a media interview in his official capacity on April 4, 2016. Secretary Castro’s statements during the interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity.
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election. While federal employees are permitted to make partisan remarks when speaking in their personal capacity, the Hatch Act restricts employees from doing so when using an official title or when speaking about agency business.
In response to being informed that he had violated the Hatch Act, Castro refused to apologize and instead chose to promise that in the future the government would provide better training on the issue.
“In responding to a journalist’s question about the 2016 election, I offered my opinion to the interviewer after making it clear that I was articulating my personal view and not an official position. At the time, I believed that this disclaimer was what was required by the Hatch Act. However, your analysis provides that it was not sufficient.”
He added that he tasked his executive team with enhancing training of the act’s requirements and adjusting how these types of interviews are handled in the future.
Castro’s brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, told Buzzfeed News that the whole imbroglio was no big deal. “It’s de minimis, but he did acknowledge the error.” Yeah, I guess for the Obama/Clinton team and their supporters, disobeying the law is no big thing.