White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said allegations that some members of the Trump administration are violating the Hatch Act by speaking at the Republican National Convention are unfounded.
Meadows told Politico that critics have overstretched what the federal law actually protects against.
"What it's really designed to do is to make sure people like myself and others do not use their political position to try to convince other employees, other federal employees that they need to vote one way, need to register one way or need to campaign in one way," Meadows said. "We take it on well beyond the original intent of the Hatch Act."
He added that “nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”
Meadows said that people “expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats.”
He said people are making “a lot of hoopla” because the convention has been “so unbelievably successful."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Economic Director Larry Kudlow and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway all agreed to speak during the RNC. Critics say they are breaking the Hatch Act, which prohibits most executive branch employees from participating in political activities.
Democrat lawmakers said they would investigate the legality of Pompeo’s participation in the RNC. Pompeo gave his speech from Jerusalem. He was visiting the Middle East in an official capacity. The secretary has maintained that his speech was given on his own time and had nothing to do with his role as the country’s top diplomat.
But Democrats are arguing his speech came while taxpayers were footing the bill for his trip. In addition, they said his speech violated the State Department’s guidelines, which prohibits employees from publicly backing political candidates.
Meadows defended Pompeo. He also said he backed the president’s decision to deliver his RNC speech from the White House. On Tuesday, first lady Melania Trump delivered her RNC speech from the White House Rose Garden.
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