HHS Sec. Sebelius to Campaign for Obama After Hatch Act Violation
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will campaign in New Hampshire for President Barack Obama in “her personal capacity” on Friday. This will be her first appearance on behalf of Obama after the Office of Special Council determined that she had violated the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority to influence the outcome of an election.
In February, at a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, Sebelius said “it’s hugely important to make sure that we re-elect the president and elect a Democratic governor here in North Carolina.”
She also said, while in her official capacity, that “one of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come 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 because this effort has just begun.”
The OSC concluded these comments violated the Hatch Act, and it is now up to Obama to determine whether Sebelius will be fired.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Obama campaign told reporters Sebelius “will be speaking to the press in her personal capacity on behalf of Obama for America” and asked them to “refrain from using her official title at the event and in related press reports, and note that we will not be taking questions concerning her official responsibilities.”