Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a). It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out. https://t.co/Fj6OfBAdew— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was booted out of a restaurant in Virginia where she was dining in along with her family.
The owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, reportedly believed Sanders works for an "inhumane and unethical" administration and as a protest against it, she asked the secretary to leave.
Trump’s spokesperson was outraged at the incident. She didn’t let the matter go and took to Twitter to report it.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so,” she wrote.
With the tweet, the press secretary may have violated ethics law because she used an official government account to criticize a private business instead of her private account.
According to former head of the U.S. office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, said the tweet is a “clear violation” of ethics law because she mentioned the name of the restaurant, which is a private entity, with the intent of retaliation.
“Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a). It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out,” he replied to Sanders’ tweet.
In the tweet, Shaub referenced the law that clearly states government employees are not allowed to use public office for a personal gain.
“Opening sentences of 5 CFR 2635.702 cover both; 702(a) gives example of coercion; 702(c) gives example of endorsement. Also 2635.101(b)(8) bars preferential treatment, with obvious corollary for singling out. She can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position,” he wrote in another tweet.
Shaub served as the ethics department for five years and left the Trump administration in mid-2017. He wasn’t the only one who pointed out Sanders’ violation of ethics law.
Ian Bassin, former Obama administration White House lawyer, also agreed with Shaub.
“When I was a WH lawyer we trained all staff they couldn’t use their WH titles or resources (like Twitter acct) for personal uses like making restaurant reservations or promoting businesses. So yes, this tweet violates federal ethics rules. I’m sure Don McGahn will remind her,” he wrote.
The press secretary, who is usually quite quick to cover up the mess made by the Trump administration, didn’t respond to the accusations.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Leah Millis