• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

We are right to be fuming over the villainy of John Eastman, the treachery of Jeffrey Clark, the conspiring of Rudy Giuliani and so many others in undermining our democracy. As the House Select Committee is uncovering, these were ultimate anti-democratic acts which culminated in an insurrection that has further cleaved our country.

But in the hurricane of unfolding news about the attempted coup, we should not lose sight of other flagrant transgressions by former Trump aides and officials. These violations may seem more mundane, but they matter too.

I’m speaking about that pesky little ethics statute known as the Hatch Act. Obscure or unknown to much of the general public, it sets out an ethical regime that every single federal employee is carefully trained on and is expected to comply with. Fundamentally, the Hatch Act, passed in 1939, is intended to keep partisan politics out of policy and vice versa. It seeks to prevent, in a multitude of ways, federal employees from using the power or prestige of their positions to advance partisan interests. This helps ensure that we have a professional class of public servants who, when they are doing the jobs that all taxpayers pay for, are doing work in the service of everyone. Campaigning and governing are supposed to remain separate, like church and state.