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Trump’s social media chief violated federal law when he tweeted for the election defeat of a GOP Representative

Dan Scavino got a warning letter from the Office of Special Counsel.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Appears With His Vice Presidential Candidate Pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Bryan Thomas / Getty

A government watchdog has reprimanded President Donald Trump’s director of social media for running afoul of a federal law that bars officials from using such tools for political ends.

The reprimand comes in response to a tweet by Dan Scavino, posted in April, that called for the election defeat of Republican Rep. Justin Amash. The congressman is part of the House Freedom Caucus, which initially opposed a health care reform bill championed by House Republicans and the White House.

The tweet immediately drew a sharp rebuke from ethics experts, who said it violated a 1939 law, called the Hatch Act, which is supposed to prevent employees in the executive branch, like Scavino, from using taxpayer dollars and official federal resources for political purposes, like advocating a vote against a sitting lawmaker.

The Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington soon complained to the government — and the Office of Special Counsel, in a follow-up letter released this week, confirmed that Scavino had been in the wrong.

“OSC has concluded that his activity violated the Hatch Act,” one of the office’s chief investigators wrote on June 5. “Accordingly, we issued Mr. Scavino a warning letter. In addition, we note that Mr. Scavino was recently counseled about the Hatch Act by the Office of the White House Counsel.”

Investigators said that Scavino hasn’t broken the rules since then, cautioning if he does that they could take “further action” in response.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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