Sec. of Health and Human Services Sebelius Broke Law with Partisan Remarks While Representing U.S. Government
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius broke the law earlier this year when she made partisan remarks at a gay rights event in North Carolina.
During a February speech to the Human Rights Campaign Gala, Sebelius advocated for the election of Walter Dalton, North Carolina’s lieutenant governor, to the governorship. She also told the audience it was important to reelect President Barack Obama in November.
Sebelius appeared at the event in her official capacity as head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Under federal law (the Hatch Act), administration officials are prohibited from making “extemporaneous partisan remarks.” According to the Office of Special Counsel, her statements constituted just that.
Had Sebelius given the speech in a personal capacity, her remarks would not have violated the Hatch Act.
The Office of Special Counsel noted that Sebelius reclassified the event from official to political after the fact in an effort to avoid violating the Hatch Act. She also reimbursed the Department of the Treasury for costs associated with the trip.
To Learn More:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act, OSC Concludes (by Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico)
Letter to President Obama (U.S. Office of Special Counsel) (pdf)
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