Kayleigh McEnany is again blurring the line between her job and her political work.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany spent much of the weekend spreading the Trump campaign's false claims that President-elect Joe Biden didn't legitimately win the 2020 election.
From her personal Twitter account, McEnany on Sunday pushed a debunked conspiracy theory suggesting that a computer program recorded Trump votes as Biden votes in Michigan and maybe elsewhere.
"A software glitch caused 6,000 votes in Michigan for President @realDonaldTrump to be counted for @JoeBiden! This software is used in 47 counties in Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona!" she claimed, citing incorrect information from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The error was not a software issue, but rather a quickly corrected human transcription mistake.
"ASK: Why were Republican poll watchers systematically blocked from observing the vote count? It’s a simple question with no satisfactory answer," she also charged on Sunday — making another debunked false claim.
"President @realDonaldTrump was WRONGFULLY impeached, UNLAWFULLY spied on. His supporters were demonized, attacked, & marginalized, We were called deplorable, irredeemable CHUMPS!" she added. "Now we are expected to roll over & unite behind Joe Biden without asking questions? NOPE!!" An inspector general found no evidence of the claim that Trump was illegally "spied on."
McEnany, who served as Trump's reelection campaign press secretary before moving into the White House job in April, remained a senior adviser to the campaign. In recent weeks, she has blurred the line between her two roles.
In a late-October Fox News appearance, she was introduced as both "Trump 2020 senior adviser and White House press secretary" — a characterization she did not challenge before she delivered partisan campaign attacks against Biden.
She reportedly receives about $183,000 in taxpayer-funded salary annually for her federal job.
Erin Chlopak, campaign finance strategy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said in an email that the Hatch Act prohibits government officials — including the press secretary — from "engaging in political activity while on duty or in the workplace."
"Bottom line: The Press Secretary can volunteer to work for the campaign, but she cannot use her official title when representing the campaign or do so on government time," she explained.
Paul Seamus Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, agreed, noting that McEnany's two roles could blur ethical and legal lines.
"My view is that the law prohibits White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany from mixing her taxpayer-funded White House duties with her campaign duties. She shouldn't be discussing White House policy matters in the same interview in which she’s discussing campaign issues," he wrote in an email.
"An administration that cared about ethics laws wouldn’t have a spokesperson trying to thread this needle—they’d instead steer clear of the line. But the Trump administration doesn’t care about ethics laws. At any rate, if Ms. McEnany sticks to one role or the other in a particular interview, she would not be violating the law," he continued.
The White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry about her dual roles and official work responsibilities, but the Trump campaign told the Daily Beast recently that McEnany's advisory position was unpaid and entirely "in her personal capacity as a private citizen." It also said news programs had been "instructed not to refer to her with her White House title" during campaign-related interviews.
Regardless of which capacity she is acting in, McEnany is spreading misinformation and undermining trust in the democratic process. The Trump campaign has provided no real evidence of any significant election fraud or stealing. Biden has been projected by every major media outlet as the winner of 2020 election after comfortably winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College majority.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.