A senior adviser to President Donald Trump on Saturday urged a primary challenge against a House Freedom Caucus member, prompting charges that he may have violated federal law against using his official position to sway an election campaign. Dan Scavino Jr., director of social media and senior White House adviser, tweeted that Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is a “big liability” for his state and encouraged a GOP primary opponent to oust him in 2018. But that tweet, sent from Scavino’s personal Twitter account, immediately landed him in controversy as ethics lawyers called out Scavino for possibly violating the Hatch Act, a Depression-era law that regulates campaigning by government officials.
“Look at the official photo on this page. Read the Hatch Act and fire this man NOW. Someone call OSC,” Richard Painter, a former ethics attorney in the George W. Bush White House, wrote on Twitter, referring to the Office of Special Counsel, the independent agency charged with monitoring and enforcing the law.
White House press office officials and Scavino did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump has waged an ongoing battle with leaders and members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus following the defeat of the American Health Care Act, the bill backed by Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan that aimed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.