Fudge, who joined White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing in March, was requested concerning the particular election to fill her vacant seat in Congress.
Though Fudge declined to weigh in on the House race, she advised reporters she thought Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and US Rep. Tim Ryan, each Democrats, have been robust candidates to fill the seat at present occupied by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who introduced in January he wouldn’t search reelection when his present time period ends in 2022. Both have since launched campaigns — Ryan for the Senate seat and Whaley for governor of Ohio.
According to the US Office of Special Counsel, the company charged with investigating Hatch Act violations, the rule prohibits federal workers from “using their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity,” together with “any activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”
In a letter dated Thursday to a conservative watchdog group that had beforehand filed a criticism in opposition to Fudge, OSC concluded that she violated the Hatch Act and stated she has been issued a warning.
“By stating, for example, that ‘we have a good shot at it’ and ‘I believe we can win the Senate race,’ Secretary Fudge showed support for the Democratic Party with respect to the Ohio Senate race while speaking in her official capacity,” the chief of OSC’s Hatch Act Unit, Ana Galindo-Marrone, wrote within the letter. “Accordingly, OSC has concluded that she violated the Hatch Act during her official appearance at the March 18 press briefing.”
Fudge issued a press release after the March briefing recognizing she should not have answered the query.
The OSC official stated that as a result of Fudge “expressed remorse” over her feedback and was endorsed by HUD ethics officers concerning the Hatch Act’s restrictions, “OSC has closed this matter by issuing her a warning letter.”
“Please note that Secretary Fudge has been advised that if in the future she engages in prohibited political activity we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law that could result in further action,” Galindo-Marrone continued.
OSC declined to remark. A HUD spokesperson pointed to Fudge’s earlier March assertion acknowledging she should not have answered the query.