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Government Agency Says Trump's Social Media Director Broke Law


FILE - Dan Scavino, director of social media and senior adviser to then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, records Trump greeting audience members at a campaign rally in Bangor, Maine, June 29, 2016.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Friday that the White House social media director broke the law when he used his Twitter account for campaign purposes.

The office said Dan Scavino, one of Trump's longest-serving aides, violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits most federal employees from using their government positions to try to influence elections. It said in a letter that it had issued a warning to Scavino.

Scavino used an official-looking Twitter account in April to urge voters to defeat Republican Representative Justin Amash in a GOP primary. Scavino's personal Twitter account at the time listed his official White House position and included pictures of him standing in the Oval Office.

"@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary," Scavino tweeted.

The tweet was flagged in a complaint by the good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

"Mr. Scavino has been advised that if in the future he engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law," Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Office of Special Counsel's Hatch Act Unit, wrote in a letter to CREW.

She said Scavino had recently been briefed about the Hatch Act and noted that he had not tweeted anything similar since that time.

The Office of Special Counsel is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency within the U.S. government. Its main mission is safeguarding the merit system in federal employment by protecting employees and applicants from prohibited practices, such as reprisals for whistle-blowing.

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