HUD Secretary Broke Law by Praising Clinton

Julian Castro fell foul of Hatch Act during TV interview
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2016 2:57 AM CDT
HUD Secretary Broke Law by Praising Clinton
Julian Castro testifies on Capitol Hill last week.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro may have wrecked his chances of becoming Hillary Clinton's running mate—with a Hillary Clinton endorsement. An Office of Special Counsel investigation has determined that Castro broke the 1939 Hatch Act, which restricts the partisan political activities of federal executive branch employees, during an April interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo News, USA Today reports. Clinton is the "most experienced, thoughtful, and prepared candidate for president that we have this year," Castro said during the interview, which was arranged through his office, involved discussion of HUD policies, and took place in front of the HUD seal. He told Couric that Clinton had a "positive vision" for the country and went on to describe Donald Trump as not prepared to be president.

Before praising Clinton, Castro told Couric he was "taking off my HUD hat for a second and just speaking individually," but he still "impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official government agency business," according to the OSC report, which explains that federal employees are "permitted to make partisan remarks when speaking in their personal capacity, but not when using their official title or when speaking about agency business." Castro has admitted he goofed, and while he could be fined up to $1,000, he's highly unlikely to receive anything more than a reprimand for the Hatch Act violation. Still, this may be a "reminder that Castro is still a relative political newcomer and lacks the savvy and expertise of some others on Clinton's short list," the Los Angeles Times notes. (More Julian Castro stories.)

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