Feds Scold HUD Administrator Lynne Patton for Her Political Comments on Company Time

Lynne Patton, event planner and Head of Region II for HUD, in New York, January 2019
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

Watch your mouth! That was the word from the feds to Lynne Patton, former Trump event planner and now somehow an administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, over her making political comments while on the clock.

According to Politico, the federal Office of Special Counsel has issued a warning to Patton for using her government Twitter account to promote political statements and displaying a red “USA” hat sold by the Trump campaign in her office.

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At issue was whether Patton violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive branch officials from certain political activity while on duty.

However, the Special Counsel said two other complaints brought against Patton by a watchdog groupsending out a tweet in support of her boss HUD chief Ben Carson and making an appearance during a Senate hearing featuring disgraced Trump lawyer Michael Cohenwere unfounded. The office ruled that Patton attended the Cohen hearing on her own time, and that her support for Carson was fine as he was not running for office.

The other findings merely warranted a warning, Special Counsel concluded.

Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington expressed its disappointment with Special Counsel’s ruling, telling Politico:

“After years of serving Donald Trump’s interests, it appears that Lynne Patton is still doing so in her taxpayer-funded job. In a democracy, laws preventing the government from acting to keep itself in power are crucial, and we will work tirelessly to see that they are enforced.”

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For her part, Patton said Wednesday she was grateful to have basically gotten off with a warning from the Special Counsel.

But as Politico notes, earlier this year, when the news of the complaint broke, Patton was far more cavalier, posting on Facebook:

that a tweet she had reposted defending Carson “may be a Hatch Act violation. It may not be. Either way, I honestly don’t care anymore…”

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Patton also “took a swipe at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) intelligence,” in the same post, but, as Politico explains, the OSC determined as it did in the Carson matter, that the message was no biggie as Ocasio-Cortez was not running for office at the time.

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