Watchdog Alleges DNC of Finance Violation Tied to Sebelius Violation of Hatch Act

Count this as another violation of federal law which the liberal media will ignore if not bury. A watchdog group is alleging that the Democratic National Committee "failed to properly disclose its reimbursements for a 2012 trip during which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act," Josh Hicks of the Washington Post reported today.

You may recall that last September, the network news media failed to note the original Sebelius violation of the 1939 law which forbids federal employees from partisan electioneering. Had Sebelius been punished appropriately she would have either been forced to resign or had to have taken a 30-day suspension. Neither course of action was pursued by the Obama administration.


Well now it appears that the DNC didn't appropriately report its reimbursement of the expense of Sebelius's partisan speech:

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel determined in September that Sebelius had violated the Hatch Act – a 1939 law prohibiting executive branch employees from engaging in political activities — by plugging President Obama during a gala last February for the Human Rights Campaign in Charlotte, N.C.

During the event, Sebelius told attendees they should “make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November he continues to be president for another four years.”

After the rally, Health and Human Services reclassified the secretary’s trip from official to political, according to a report from the Office of Special Counsel.

The DNC has reimbursed about $2,500 to the U.S. Treasury for costs Sebelius and one of her aides incurred while traveling to the event, according to the complaint.

Cause of Action alleges the DNC reported the reimbursements as operating expenses with the FEC, “thereby avoiding any acknowledgement that the purpose of the expenditure was to reimburse the federal government for Secretary Sebelius’s Hatch Act violation.”

The group said federal law requires party committees to report such payments as “independent expenditures,” thus marking them as compensation for political activities.

Sounds like a boring, garden-variety accounting violation? Perhaps on some level it is. But it's hard to imagine that if a Sebelius-like violation occurred and had been papered over in the Bush administration that it would have been ignored by the media. Likewise, any follow-up financial shenanigans by the RNC in such as case would have been blown up into a scandal.

For its part, the DNC is, predictably, coming out swinging with bluster against Cause of Action as partisan troublemakers:

“This is utter nonsense being peddled by right wing partisans who have nothing better to do than dredge up an issue that has long since been resolved,” said party spokesman Brad Woodhouse. “This issue — including the DNC’s role in this reimbursement — has been public for months, has been widely reported and was available to the public on our FEC report — which is in stark contrast to this shadowy group which refuses to release its own donors.”

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters