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‘Somewhat evasive’: Karine Jean-Pierre accused of hiding behind obscure law to avoid tough questions

“As you know, I am subject to the Hatch Act,” said White House press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre, by many in the White House briefing room. In fact, Jean-Pierre has invoked the Hatch Act 33 times on the podium since his September..

The Hatch Act, a New Deal-era federal law, prohibits public officials from engaging in political activity or promoting political campaigns, with the president and vice president specifically exempt.

According to a recent Politico report, some White House reporters have expressed frustration at the press secretary’s frequent use of the Hatch Act, with Jean-Pierre abusing the law to evade difficult questions. I am accused of doing

Richard Painter, who served as White House ethics attorney in the George W. Bush administration, says questions about the president’s medical records in the face of the re-election decision were legitimate and irrelevant to the Hatch Act. .

“She sounds too broad for the Hatch Act. She just doesn’t want to answer questions about the president’s medical records,” Painter said.

White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre has invoked the Hatch Act in response to 33 questions since September.

White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre has invoked the Hatch Act in response to 33 questions since September.
(Susan Walsh/File)

In December, we learned about President Biden’s visit to Georgia during the Senate runoff, whether Biden will release the results of his physical examination, and whether he or other politicians plan to return political donations. Jean-Pierre specifically refused to answer the question, citing the Hatch Law. From his disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

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Ahead of the Georgia Senate runoff vote in December, Jean-Pierre repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether Biden would travel to Peach State before Election Day, citing the Hatch Act. Democratic Senator Rafael Warnock (D-Ga.) has declined to say whether he will campaign with Biden for the runoff.

Painter said questions about the president’s schedule could be answered without violating the law, even though they were related to political campaigns, and the answer was “somewhat evasive.”

“Looking at the Hatch Act, she cannot use her public office to promote a campaign or attack an opponent,” Painter said.

According to Painter, Jean-Pierre can certainly provide information on the whereabouts of the president and the general nature of his activities, political or otherwise.

A former Trump White House official told Fox News Digital that Jean-Pierre used the Hatch method to dodge campaign-related questions while being overtly political about “ultra-MAGA” and “extreme MAGA” individuals. He said he seemed to want both ways, making a statement. Biden started using it to describe Republican candidates heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

Jean-Pierre’s warning may be based on legitimate concerns within the Biden White House. The Office of the Special Counsel, which investigates possible Hatch Act violations, accused Jean-Pierre’s predecessor, Jemp Saki, of Hatch Act violations at a press conference in October 2021, and she accused former Virginia Governor Terry of her He appeared to support McAuliffe’s gubernatorial run. .

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (above) took over the role in May 2022 following Jen Psakih's departure.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (above) took over the role in May 2022 following Jen Psakih’s departure.
(Chip Somodevilla/File)

“While questions related to campaign issues are not necessarily ‘incontrovertible,’ employees should be encouraged to review the We have to consider all the circumstances of the situation,” said Senior General Counsel Delaney Marsco. Campaign Legal Center, a government oversight group.

“It makes sense for Carine Jean-Pierre to be cautious about taking part in what could be construed as political activity,” Maasko told Fox.

White House reporters are likely to hear more about the upcoming Hatch Act, as Mr. Biden has told reporters that he will consider the possibility of re-election and announce a decision “early next year.”

“This White House believes in the rule of law and will continue to keep members of the media informed while working within federal law,” White House Assistant Press Secretary Robin Patterson told Fox.

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“More broadly, when it comes to political campaigns and other political activities, we usually keep referring to the DNC and related campaigns. We have every right to petition and ask for changes in the law,” Patterson added.