Former Trump employee was finally punished by the Hatch Act. Who is next?

For years, blatant violations of the Hatch Act have been compared only by “Infrastructure Week” as the Trump administration’s darkest joke. But nearly three months after President Donald Trump stepped down, a former government official was formally punished for exploiting his position for political purposes – and others may be on the way.

Lynne Patton, a longtime member of the Trump Organization and a former event planner, came into conflict with the Hatch Act on several occasions during her tenure as director of public liaison for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but openly rejected any chance of face discipline for violating the law.

“I just retweeted this incredible tweet from my two Twitter accounts – professional and personal,” wrote Patton in a 2019 Facebook post after sharing a meme from a conservative account. “It could be a violation of the Hatch Act. It may not be. Anyway, I honestly don’t care anymore. “

On Tuesday, however, Patton was finally punished for violating the ethics law, accepting an agreement from the U.S. Special Council Office that included a $ 1,000 fine and a four-year ban on serving in the federal government. Patton was also forced to admit that she knowingly violated the law when she recruited public housing residents to appear in a video defending Trump at the Republican National Convention last year.

Typically, these violations were dismissed by Trump officials as bureaucratic “oopsies”. But with the election of President Joe Biden, the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit Systems Protection Board – the government agency charged with prosecuting cases of potential breaches of the Hatch Act, which have remained without a board quorum for the entire term of Trump in office – are beginning to lessen the vast backlog of complaints from the Trump era.