Started by ilona trommler
eds: HUD Secretary Julián Castro violated Hatch Act in interview regarding Hillary Clinton
July 19, 2016
July 19, 2016
A U.S. Office of Special Counsel report released Monday found that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro violated the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of some federal employees, during an April interview with Yahoo News.
Castro's statements during the interview, according to a OSC news release, mixed his "personal political views with officials agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity." The department found he violated the act by "advocating for and against presidential candidates while giving a media interview in his official capacity on April 4, 2016," the report states.
The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election, according to the report. The OSC submitted the report and Castro's response to President Barack Obama for "appropriate action."
After receiving an analysis of the interview, Castro sent a letter to the OSC Friday, where he addressed the violation saying, "When an error is made — even an inadvertent one — the error should be acknowledged. Although it was not my intent, I made one here."
Previously, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was found to have violated the Hatch Act in 2012 when she made an off-hand remark at a gay rights group's gala about who should be North Carolina's next governor. Sebelius personally reimbursed the U.S. Treasury for all travel expenses to North Carolina, which resolved the violation.
In the April interview, the former San Antonio mayor, who is reportedly being vetted to be Hillary Clinton's vice president, tells Katie Couric, "Now, taking off my HUD hat for a second and speaking individually, it is very clear that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced, thoughtful and prepared candidate for president that we have this year.
Posted by William A. Jacobson July 19, 2016
This is a great time to be alive and a Democrat lawbreaker
Julian Castro is unqualified for national office, despite extensive grooming by Democrats.
He is the former Mayor of San Antonio, but as I noted in May 2014, Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio had less responsibility than Mayor Sarah Palin of Wasilla:
Sarah Palin, who also was Governor of Alaska at the time of her nomination for Veep, was excoriated by the mainstream media for her stint as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, with the argument being that her job only involved overseeing a few departments. It was less than worthless experience, the meme went.So Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, is being groomed for a potential Veep slot in 2016 through a cabinet appointment, as discussed yesterday, Mayor of San Antonio one heartbeat away from the presidency?I assumed that the position of Mayor of San Antonio was a serious job, like being the Mayor of many other big cities. While a spot on a presidential ticket for someone who never was more than a Mayor would be unusual, we have had Mayors like Rudy Guiliani make presidential runs.I gave Castro the benefit of the doubt on managerial and policy experience. I was wrong.It turns out that being Mayor of San Antonio involves no more responsibility than being Mayor of Wasilla, and maybe less.
That Mayoral job was part time and mostly ceremonial, as Byron York reported:
San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas and seventh-largest in the nation, has a council-manager-weak mayor form of government. The manager runs the city. “The office of the city manager serves as the focal point for the executive leadership and direction of the city organization,” says the website of San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley. The site says Sculley, in office seven years, has “appointed executive leadership, reorganized city departments, streamlined city business systems, improved customer service and elevated the professionalism of city management.” Sculley makes $355,000 a year, one of the highest salaries for a local office in Texas.The office of mayor carries with it no executive authority. Castro’s website says he has “focused on attracting well-paying jobs in 21st century industries, positioning San Antonio to be a leader in the New Energy Economy.” Castro’s site says he has also “brought a sense of urgency” to urban revitalization, and has created something called SA2020, “a community-wide visioning effort turned nonprofit that has galvanized thousands of San Antonians around a simple, but powerful vision for San Antonio — to create a brainpower community that is the liveliest city in the nation.”Creating visioning efforts, senses of urgency, and brainpower communities brings the mayor far, far less money than the city manager. “The mayor’s job pays $20 a meeting plus a one-time $2,000 fee, so I basically make $4,000 a year,” Castro told San Antonio television station KENS last year.
Castro, however, had all it took to be a Democrat rising star – identity politics and good looks, as I noted in my May 2014 post:
A rising Democratic star with almost no actual managerial or policy experience, who looks good on camera, gives good speeches, has a compelling “life story,” and will energize the Democratic base through identity politics. Nah, that couldn’t work.Oh, wait.
So what did the Democrats do to help groom the potential future leader of the party? Obama gave Castro a job as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, so the wonder-kid could actually claim to have done something with his life other than smile for the cameras.
And Castro didn’t exactly take his role as rising star lightly and rest on his HUD laurels. No, he studied Spanish to burnish his identity political usefulness, as Politico reported in January 2016:
At home, Julián Castro’s been spending more time reading and watching television in Spanish, trying to get his speaking skills up to speed.On the job as Housing and Urban Development secretary, he’s been carefully working the levers in Washington, with coaching from Bill Clinton and a twin brother who’s a popular and up-and-coming congressman himself.Starting Saturday, he’ll be out on the trail for Hillary Clinton in in Nevada, Iowa and Maine.He’s plotted his rise carefully, studying and strategizing with a clear goal in sight. But if Clinton picks him to be her running mate, it’ll be more about perfectly fitting his party’s moment and the nearly non-existent Democratic bench than about his 18 months as a HUD secretary who hasn’t left a deep mark at his agency, the White House or the housing world.
How pathetic is that?
Pathetic enough that this empty suit hitched his wagon to Hillary, campaigned with her, and now is on the presumed short list of Veep nominees along with Liz Warren and that guy from Virginia who is not Mark Warner whose name I can never remember because he’s so generic.
Then the Hatch fell on Castro, as in the Hatch Act. WaPo reported yesterday, Federal investigators: Cabinet secretary and potential Clinton running mate Julian Castro violated Hatch Act:
Housing Secretary Julian Castro violated the federal Hatch Act restricting partisan political activity by federal employees when he praised Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during an interview conducted from his government office, government investigators found Monday....A report from the Office of Special Counsel delivered a mild rebuke to Castro for his handling of the April interview with Yahoo News. The seal of the Housing and Urban Development department was visible behind Castro as he answered questions from host Katie Couric about his support for Clinton, including his chances as running mate. (He said he did not think he would be chosen.) ....The report found that Castro did not separate his role as HUD secretary well enough from his role as a Clinton supporter and referred the findings to President Obama. There was no immediate word on whether Obama planned to act on the findings.
So let’s assess the situation as of yesterday. Democrat rising star, identity politics standout, Obama-in-the-making, potential Veep pick for Hillary.
You know where I’m going with this.
Obama took a break from the golf course to jump all over the violation of federal law by deciding to take no action against Castro. Because next week Hillary has to nominate a Veep.
The Hill reports:
President Obama won’t discipline Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro for violating a rule prohibiting federal officials from making personal political statements while presenting themselves in an official capacity.The White House confirmed on Tuesday that Castro, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, won’t face any punishment after he apologized for breaching the Hatch Act during an April interview with Yahoo News’s Katie Couric.“I think, to his credit, Secretary Castro acknowledged the mistake that he made,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
This is a great time to be alive and a Democrat lawbreaker.
Just ask that other law breaker who got away with is and now sits at the top of the ticket.
Laura J Alcorn