Housing and Urban Development chief violated Hatch Act

The Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, violated the Hatch Act, having “impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business,” according to an official finding by the Office of Special Counsel.

The breach took place during a recent media interview in which Secretary Castro discussed specific political opinions on camera while “speaking in his official capacity.” The OSC, which monitors and investigates complaints of illegal political activity by civil servants, released the finding July 18.

“The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election,” the OSC stated in its finding. “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.”

OSC determined Castro’s political statements represented a violation, since the interview was arranged by HUD’s Office of Public Affairs, took place at HUD, and featured Secretary Castro outlining official HUD activities “with the HUD seal visible behind him.”

Prior to making the political statements, Secretary Castro had clarified on camera that he was “taking [his] HUD hat off”— but he later noted, according to OSC’s finding, “that fact may not have been obvious to viewers.”

Reader comments

Thu, Jul 28, 2016

Loretta Lynch violated the Hatch Act by meeting with Bill Clinton with the plan to use her official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.

Thu, Jul 28, 2016

They get plenty of training but no enforcement for the top management.

Fri, Jul 22, 2016

"Let it go. Many Federal employees has made mistakes with the Hatch Act." ________ Hahaha, if your criteria for not punishing a high-ranking official is that "many federal employees have made mistakes," then you may as well empty the prisons. And when regular Feds make these Hatch mistakes, guess what... they get punished! This is just another example of the "punishment for thee, but not for me" mentality that is now pervasive throughout our federal government.

Thu, Jul 21, 2016 Headhoncho

Why don't these people ever have to pay the price of open law violations?

Thu, Jul 21, 2016 Rich G

If any rank and file fed employee would do it the hammer would come down so fast and hard your eyes would spin, this will take years to address and most likely with no repercussions.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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