What could be considered a violation of the Hatch Act, Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing, is said to have produced documents specifically for six swing states highlighting the economic policies of President Donald Trump, according to Monday’s report in The Daily Beast.
According to the U.S. Office of Special Advisers, the Hatch Act prohibits some federal employees from participating in certain political activities in order to “ensure that federal programs are administered in an impartial manner. The documents produced by Navarro’s office did not explicitly attempt to persuade readers to re-elect Trump.
However, some see the Swing State reports as another attempt by Navarro to use his office as a platform to promote Trump. Navarro’s actions on behalf of the Trump re-election campaign, including television interviews during his tenure, have caught the attention of the Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) monitoring group, which has called for Navarro’s removal from office.
Economic reports were prepared for Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Although the reports specifically target each state by naming companies and industries located in those states, all reports refer to Trump as “the president with the greatest number of jobs and the largest trade negotiators in history.
Washington Newsday asked the CREW for a comment. In a statement sent to The Daily Beast, the White House said that “all political activities were conducted by members of the administration” “in accordance with the Hatch Act.
Navarro referred to the Swing State reports during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business in October, while criticizing the previous foreign policy decisions of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“Biden let China enter the World Trade Organization,” said Navarro. “We have lost 70,000 factories and 5,000,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector. We must not forget that. With President Trump, we can bring that stuff back.”
In a letter sent to the office of the Special Advisor in October, CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder claimed that Navarro was “in conflict” with the Hatch Act.
“Mr. Navarro’s swing state report and his statements during this interview on the report constituted political activity under the Hatch Act,” Bookbinder wrote. The CREW letter also called for a recommendation to Trump to “remove Navarro from federal service.
Other members of Trump’s White House were accused of violating the Hatch Act, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo’s remarks during the Republican National Convention in August were recorded when he visited Israel in an official capacity.
Pompeo told reporters in September that his speech was “lawful” and had been reviewed by the State Department.
The Special Advisor’s office began investigating Pompeo in October. In a joint statement confirming the investigation, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, and the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee said Pompeo “has become even bolder by using the State Department and the taxpayers’ money from which it is funded as a vehicle for the government’s political ambitions and its own political goals.
While some political observers expected that Pompeo would resign from his position as Secretary of State to run for a Senate seat in Kansas in 2020, Pompeo failed to submit the proper papers to run in that state’s elections.