UNITED STATES—The U.S. Office of Special Counsel will investigate whether Education Secretary Betsy DeVos breached the Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act of 1939, or An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, prohibits civil service employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president and vice president, from engaging in certain political activity.
In early September, DeVos appeared on Fox News and said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s pledge to abandon her education policies was “shameful.” DeVos added that he had “turned his back on the kids” and “turned his face in favor of the teachers union.”
According to the complaint filed, the Education Department staff then distributed a link to the interview in an official email titled, “Important Updates from U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos,” via a government list. Additionally, Devos’ official Twitter account posted the video.
The complaint was filed by the watchdog blog, Checks and Balances Project.
A lawyer in the Office of Special Counsel Hatch Act Unit told the executive director of the blog, Scott Peterson, that the agency would investigate the complaint.
“Not every allegation is based in fact; this is a classic example. [DeVos] was asked to respond to oft-repeated criticism of her and her policies, and she defended her policies, including discussing the history of that criticism. The Hatch Act does not prohibit that kind of exchange with a journalist. Case closed,” said Angela Morabito, a spokeswoman for the Education Department.
Morabito added that the agency will cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel.