The federal Office of Special Counsel has concluded that it was a “close call” whether Anthony Fauci violated the federal Hatch Act which bars a federal employee from “us[ing] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”
The conclusion was that with all the circumstances considered, Fauci came down on the safe side of the law after he appeared to slam President Trump and praise Joe Biden in an interview about COVID just before the election.
A report at The Federalist explains the decision that came from the OSC on a complaint filed against Fauci for his comments.
The federal office said, “OSC generally advises employees that it is best not to discuss candidates for partisan political office when speaking in their official capacity.”
But a statement from Erica Hamrick, a deputy chief of the Hatch Act Unit, added that public testimony, “must still show that the employee engaged in political activity to establish a Hatch Act violation.”
“Here, while a close call, Dr. Fauci’s comments, without more, do not appear to be directed at the electoral success or failure of either candidate. The timing of the interview coincided with the upcoming winter season and Dr. Fauci’s assessment of the virus’s impact leading into that season,” Hamrick found.
A complaint had been filed by the group called Protect the Public’s Trust over Fauci’s statements in October 2020 to the Washington Post, which appeared just days before the election.
The article was headlined, “A whole lot of hurt: Fauci warns of COVID-19 surge, offers blunt assessment of Trump’s response,” and Fauci complained that at the time that an “abrupt change” was needed because “you could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to fight COVID-19.
That was, of course, while President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed still was developing the shots that he turned over to the Biden administration and now are available.
Fauci specifically referenced the presidential candidates, claiming Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” but said President Trump was “looking at it from a different perspective.”
The complaint against Fauci pointed out that Fauci was offering his “evaluation” of Biden’s position and comparing it to that of the administration at the time.
Hamrick said the Post might have “tried to use Dr. Fauci’s words to make a political point” but she couldn’t “impute the author’s intent.”
Michael Chamberlain of Protect the Public’s Trust reacted with, “Unfortunately, as the Office of Special Counsel noted, Dr. Fauci disregarded its best practices around the Hatch Act and enabled his official position to be used ‘to make a political point’ even if his motives were unclear.”
The Federalist pointed out, “Since the pandemic’s inception, Fauci, the highest-paid employee across the federal government, has leveraged his White House role as a ‘political animal’ to undercut the Trump administration and forge a media-manufactured consensus to prolong lockdowns.”
It explained emails have confirmed Fauci colluded with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins “to discredit alternate approaches to approach the pandemic to lockdowns.”
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