A top cabinet member of the Biden administration, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, violated the law at a state-funded gala, a new investigation found.
Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner, from the Office of the Special Council [OSC], told President Joe Biden that Becerra violated the Hatch Act by advocating for Democrats to be elected while acting “in his official capacity” as a cabinet secretary.
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“As explained in the accompanying report, OSC concluded that Secretary Becerra violated the Hatch Act by expressing support for Senator Alex Padilla’s reelection while speaking in his official capacity at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Annual Awards Gala on September 15, 2022,” Kerner wrote.
“In delivering his speech, Secretary Becerra impermissibly mixed his personal electoral preference with official remarks,” the letter said.
“While federal employees are permitted to express support for candidates when speaking in their personal capacity, the Hatch Act restricts employees from doing so when speaking as a government official,” Kerner said.
“With a presidential election approaching next year, this report offers an opportunity to deter violations by reminding federal employees at all levels of the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” the letter warned.
Becerra claimed his illegal violation of the Hatch Act was inadvertent.
“While I did not realize at the time that my off-the-cuff remarks concerning my personal voting intentions were in violation of the Hatch Act, I now understand why they were not permitted,” he said.
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Take a look —
OSC says Sect. Becerra violated the Hatch Act. pic.twitter.com/Cyh5wWIA06
— Philip Bump (@pbump) April 18, 2023