POLITICS

Sebelius to hit campaign trail again after Hatch Act violation

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Politics Digest

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will soon be back to doing what she does best — campaigning for President Obama.

Sebelius will travel to New Hampshire this weekend for a swing of “grassroots events” with Obama, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. The campaign trip comes after the Office of Special Counsel found that Sebelius had violated federal campaign law by campaigning for Obama during an official event.

“OSC concluded that Secretary Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she made extemporaneous partisan remarks in a speech delivered in her official capacity on February 25, 2012,” the investigator explained. “The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election.”

During the Human Rights Campaign Gala this year, Sebelius called for North Carolinians to re-elect Obama and vote down a ballot initiative that would define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Sebelius was speaking at the event in her official capacity as the HHS head. (The initiative succeeded.)

The Democratic National Committee reimbursed HHS for the expense of her trip after Sebelius made her stump speech for the president.

Sebelius took issue with the OSC investigation. “I believe that you should have concluded that any violation was corrected when the event was reclassified as political,” she wrote in a letter to OSC. “lf there was a violation of the Hatch Act based on the use of my title, l believe the violation was technical and minor. These are not the type of violations that the Hatch Act is intended to address.”

 

 

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