Green Room

HHS Secretary Sebelius violated federal law on politicking

posted at 1:01 pm on September 13, 2012 by

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has advised the White House that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is in violation of a federal law that restricts political activity by government officials. The National Review Online notes that during an appearance at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala in the battleground state of North Carolina on Feb. 25, Sebelius openly endorsed the state’s lieutenant governor in his campaign for governor and strongly advocated the re-election of President Obama:

One of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November he continues to be president for another four years … It’s hugely important to make sure that we reelect the president and elect a Democratic governor here in North Carolina.

The remarks violated the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits federal employees from using their official authority to influence an election, although it allows partisan remarks made in a personal capacity.

“While a violation of the Hatch Act occurred, Secretary Sebelius’ statements would have been permissible if they had been made in her personal capacity,” the OC report said.

Sebelius has responded via a statement to the effect that any violation was “technical and minor” and was corrected after her official trip was reclassified as political. Part of the “correction” was the reimbursement of the federal government of $2,514.50 to cover the the portion of the trip that was deemed political.

Now that the matter is before the president, he bound by statutory responsibility to take “appropriate action.” The presumptive penalty for a Hatch Act violation is termination from government employment, which, if challenged, can be reduced to a suspension of no less than 30 days without pay. Notably, a former U.S. attorney was suspended for 100 days last year for a violation that was considerably more nuanced than that by Sebelius.

This incident is not the first in which members of the Obama cabinet broke the law. In a little reported story, his secretaries of Labor and Education broke the law in January when they met with illegal aliens at the Department of Education. The statute they violated appears in Paragraph 1324, Chapter 12, under Title 8 of the U.S. Penal Code, which clearly states:

Any person who … knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building … shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).

The punishment specified is a fine or imprisonment for no more than 5 years, or both.

Neither Education Secretary Arne Duncan or Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was ever prosecuted.

Related Articles

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can also reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com.

 

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Neither Education Secretary Arne Duncan or Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was ever prosecuted.

And sebelius won’t be either! No one in bho’s administration will get squat before election if ever? The whole blooming bunch are lawbreakers and don’t give a flit because they know NO ONE will do anything.

Just like holder, they will just stall, stall, stall!
L

letget on September 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

As usual nothing will happen…

Typical response…crickets

But lawd help any Republican or Conservative, had they done this the book would have been thrown at them…

American politics has sunk to an all time low…

I am disgusted by the whole process…

Lying liars keep on lying and covering their collective a**es…

My God, is it ever time for things to change!

Scrumpy on September 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

any violation was “technical and minor”

The truth is always so complicated for the left.

the reimbursement of the federal government of $2,514.50 to

Should be “to/of” or “of/to”. Either way I gotta feeling that was our money she was covering with. Or of. Too. Or also.

onomo on September 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I’d love to see her sanctimonious butt get booted but, seriously, is she the only one in this sadministration who violated federal law on politicking? This proverbial fish is rotting from the head down.

stukinIL4now on September 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

he (is) bound by statutory responsibility to take “appropriate action.”

Ha ha ha ha ha. You are funny Howard. This is a guy who didn’t want the Supreme Court to be bound by the Constitution. Laws are merely irritating speedbumps to him.

rbj on September 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM

A lawless Administration deserves a noncompliant people.

Olo_Burrows on September 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM