The former chief ethics attorney for former President George W. Bush is calling on a top Trump adviser to be fired after allegedly violating the Hatch Act.
The alleged violation centers around a tweet that Trump senior adviser Dan Scavino made Saturday when he labeled Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) a "liability" and called on him to be primaried in next year's congressional elections.
Scavino was lashing out at Amash for being a member of the House Freedom Caucus, the conservative wing of the House that the Trump administration has been bashing after their recent failure to pass health care reform. But according to Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who served as the chief ethics lawyer for the Bush White House from 2005 to 2007, Scavino violated federal law with the tweet.
"Look at the official photo on this page. Read the Hatch Act and fire this man NOW. Someone call OSC," Painter tweeted Saturday, referencing the Office of Special Counsel, which oversees personnel violations.
As far as the photo, Painter was referencing the fact that Scavino's personal Twitter account features an avatar of him in the Oval Office — essentially a representation of him as a government official.
"This is use of official position to influence an election. Look at the photo and description underneath. Bush WH would have fired him," Painter went on to explain.
"Ethics 101- You can't put official titles and WH photos all over your "personal" Twitter page and use it for partisan politics. Hatch Act," he added.
This is use of official position to influence an election. Look at the photo and description underneath. Bush WH… https://t.co/NQZUTx9vCS— Richard W. Painter (@Richard W. Painter)1491077649.0
Ethics 101- You can't put official titles and WH photos all over your "personal" Twitter page and use it for partisan politics. Hatch Act— Richard W. Painter (@Richard W. Painter)1491080572.0
The Hatch Act is a law passed under former President Franklin Roosevelt that prevents all federal government employees — with exceptions to the president, vice president and certain other high-ranking political offices — from using their positions in the government to influence or sway elections.
However, Painter wasn't the only former White House lawyer to call out Scavino for allegedly violating the Hatch Act. Daniel Jacobson, an attorney who worked in the Obama administration, echoed Painter's comments.
"This violates the Hatch Act. WH staff can't use an official or de facto govt Twitter acct (which this is) to call for defeat of a candidate," he wrote on Twitter Saturday.
This violates the Hatch Act. WH staff can't use an official or de facto govt Twitter acct (which this is) to call f… https://t.co/1Aharlp1k1— Daniel Jacobson (@Daniel Jacobson)1491070684.0
For his part, Amash hit back at Scavino by saying the Trump administration is already part of the entrenched government establishment by attacking conservatives and independent thinkers.
Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment. Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarian… https://t.co/I6yygQjJa9— Justin Amash (@Justin Amash)1491067366.0
He even used the opportunity to tweet out the link to his campaign website so that people could donate to his re-election effort next year.
For what it's worth, Scavino has not deleted his Saturday tweet or changed his Twitter avatar. He also retweeted Trump's personal account earlier this week where Trump called on his supporters to fight Freedom Caucus members in 2018.