The flagrant disregard for the law tolerated by the White House during the Trump years will be reverberating for years to come. We still don’t have a sense of the full scope of the corruption and criminality enabled and perhaps even encouraged by the worst president in American history but we are finally beginning to see some consequences visited upon those who engaged in such activity.
Forbes reports that Lynne Patton, a former Trump official, has been fined $1000 and will be banned from holding a federal job for four years due to her violation of the Hatch Act, a statute that prevents most members of the Executive Branch from abusing their position for partisan political purposes.
Patton reached a disciplinary agreement with the Office of Special Counsel and admitted that she “improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign.” She violated the Act when she exploited her position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a video for the 2020 Republican National Convention.
The offending video lavished undeserved praise on Trump while attacking New York’s Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Many of the New Yorkers featured in the segment later revealed that they had been tricked into being used as political props and said they are in no way supporters of Donald Trump. It represents a clear-cut violation on Patton’s part in addition to serving as a damning indictment of her character.
Ethics watchdog groups are hailing the Patton decision as a much-needed victory for the American people. Noah Bookbinder, the President of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said that it is “gratifying” to see Patton facing real consequences for her “outrageous conduct.”
Hopefully, this is just the first of many. If the people who used the Trump years to flaunt the law are not punished, the law has no meaning.
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