Trump's social media director admonished for political tweet

Bryan Thomas  Getty

Scavino's tweet came this spring after Amash, a libertarian Republican from Cascade Township in west MI, took a role in helping to block a vote on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that was supported by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, helped thwart a push to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare in March - a move that put him at odds with the White House.

But after complaints about his tweet attacking Amash, Scavino quickly altered details on his personal Twitter page, removing the reference to his current post at the White House and photos of Trump supporters at a rally holding signs.

The Office of Special Counsel told the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that it had notified White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino that his threat was a violation and another such act could be construed as a "willful and knowing violation" of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from some political activities. "OSC has concluded that this activity violated the Hatch Act".

Some observers suggested the tweet, although innocuous by some examples from the current administration, may have violated a law called the Hatch Act.

She said another violation by the White House aide could result in more serious punishment.

In a complaint to the OSC, the public interest group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) argued that this was a violation of the Hatch Act, a law that's meant to prevent public officials from engaging in partisan politics.

There is a range of penalties for those who violate the Hatch Act, according to the Office of Government Ethics, which says that an employee in violation of the Act "shall be subject to removal, reduction in grade, debarment from Federal employment for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, reprimand, or an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000".

Neither Scavino nor other White House officials immediately responded to requests for comment. "Accordingly, we issued Mr. Scavino a warning letter".

And even though Scavino was technically tweeting from a personal account, his Twitter bio at the time listed his official White House position, and his profile picture showed him inside the Oval Office.

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