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Communications Government Republicans United States Politics

FCC Commissioner Broke the Law By Advocating for Trump, Officials Find (theverge.com) 324

A newly released letter from government officials finds that Republican FCC commissioner Michael O'Reilly broke a federal law preventing officials from advocating for political candidates when he told a crowd that one way to avoid policy changes was to "make sure that President Trump gets reelected." The Verge reports: After he made the comments, the watchdog group American Oversight filed a letter with the Office of Special Counsel, which handles Hatch Act complaints. In response to the group's letter, the Office of Special Counsel said today that O'Rielly did, in fact, violate the Hatch Act. The letter said O'Rielly responded that he was only trying to provide an explanatory answer to how those changes in policy could be stopped, but the office rejected that reasoning. The office said it has sent a warning letter to O'Rielly this time, but will consider other infractions "a willful and knowing violation of the law" that could lead to legal action.
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FCC Commissioner Broke the Law By Advocating for Trump, Officials Find

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  • I suspect everyone breaks one law or another every day and doesn't know it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I suspect everyone breaks one law or another every day and doesn't know it.

      Yep! Its ridiculous to expect someone to follows the laws that apply specifically to their jobs. As a doctor, its really just too much to expect for me to follow the laws regarding prescribing opioids. Just too many damn laws!

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @11:12PM (#56539644)

      I suspect everyone breaks one law or another every day and doesn't know it.

      Sure... but this is also a law he really shouldn't have broken.

      His job is to help administer the FCC, not be a partisan hack speaking at CPAC and pumping Trump's candidacy.

      Normal ethical people understand their roles come with a responsibility beyond partisanship and tend to avoid repeatedly violating laws meant to ensure ethical behaviour.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2018 @03:13AM (#56540186)

      I suspect everyone breaks one law or another every day and doesn't know it.

      Yes but how many people break laws specifically targeted at them while they occupy an office or position intended as the specific target of the law?

      Sure I probably break some laws, but you won't find me for instance breaking the Professional Engineering Act in my country. Likewise I expect someone in the employ of the federal government not to break a law that specifically is intended to apply to federal government employees.

  • He should have said it in a Free Speech Zone [wikipedia.org].

  • by dohzer ( 867770 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @10:41PM (#56539526) Homepage

    We'll it's a good thing Trump hasn't broken any laws himself yet.

  • Improvement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by technosaurus ( 1704630 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @11:35PM (#56539704)
    Everyone talks about "change". Nobody wants change for change sake. What we want is improvement. Even on volatile topics like pro-choice/life there is middleground that gets left off the table because it doesn't invoke an emotional response in their demographic ... making adoption easier comes to mind.
    Stop talking about "change", its meaningless since it can be good or bad ... or it could mean whats left in our pockets after taxes.
    • Even on volatile topics like pro-choice/life there is middleground that gets left off the table because it doesn't invoke an emotional response in their demographic ... making adoption easier comes to mind.

      You do not want the government to make adoption easier [time.com], they are already not doing due diligence to make sure adopted children are not sold into slavery, eaten for sunday brunch, or whatever.

    • Everyone talks about "change". Nobody wants change for change sake.

      Are you sure about that? How many people voted for Trump because he would be different from previous presidents, without any regard for whether he would be better or worse?

  • And let's string up Kathleen Sebelius for Hatch Act violations as well [causeofaction.org], and also President Obama for refusing to do his duty and allow Sebelius to be prosecuted for her Hatch violation!
    • But, but, Obama! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2018 @01:26AM (#56539958)

      Dude, Kellyanne Conway alone has as many Hatch Act violations as the whole eight years of the Obama administration!

      The current administration has taken graft and corruption to heights unheard of in the First World. Please, continue to blame Obama for all your problems, though.

      dom

    • Can you find an actual source, as opposed to CauseOfAction.org and the RWNJ "Deep State" echo chamber?

      Didn't think so.

      • Apparently you did nothing more than look at the domain. For if you actually LOOKED at the link, you'd see links to the OSC that state she violated the Hatch act [osc.gov]. But no, you'd rather shoot the messenger than accept the message. I guess CNN and MSNBC are the only accepted sources for you, though, so keep that mind shut!
        • Yes, I actually looked at the link. Not only that, I read the linked story... and as soon as I started seeing references to "Deep State" I knew I was wasting my time.

          • Oh, and yes, I did in fact read the actual OSC report, and found that corrective action had been taken:

            OSC concluded that Secretary Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she made extemporaneous partisan remarks in a speech delivered in her official capacity on February 25, 2012. ...

            After the event, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reclassified the trip from official to political and issued a statement to that effect. The Democratic National Committee reimbursed the U.S. Treasury for all costs and expenses associated with her travel to the event. OSC found no evidence that Secretary Sebelius made any other political statements in her official capacity.

            I'm satisfied that none of your tax dollars funded partisan political messaging in this case, and that it was made clear the remarks were made by a private individual and did not constitute an official position or policy of HHS. I think the *intent* of the Hatch Act is also thus satisfied.

            You're obviously looking for something more--burning at the stake, perhaps?

    • And let's string up Kathleen Sebelius for Hatch Act violations as well [causeofaction.org], and also President Obama for refusing to do his duty and allow Sebelius to be prosecuted for her Hatch violation!

      Why not string them all up? I learned that 2 wrongs don't make a right when I was around 4 years old. And you?

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2018 @01:35AM (#56539972)

    Lock him up!
    Lock him up!
    Lock him up!

    What?... you guys seemed to like that chant before. What changed? ;)

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2018 @07:03AM (#56540586)

    Quite a few federal officials are taking political sides against the ethics of their office. Side X doing it doesn't excuse side Y doing it. However, it does make the calls to enforce such laws somewhere between hypocrisy and tyranny if they are only applied when an official goes one way but not the other.

    The series of incidents are well known and all controversial indifferent to who said what when. I won't bother going through them because whatever I say will be gainsaid by a member of which ever tribe.

    For real unity here... for real ethical clarity and purity... these laws have been applied evenly. You can't throw the book at one person for doing it and then say "it was an honest mistake" when someone from the other tribe did it.

    Even handed or the entire principle becomes a crass and tyrannical pretext to power and nothing more.

    I think too often people look at this sort of thing and think it can't get worse. That stability cannot tip over some point where instead of trending towards stability we will trend towards instability.

    Those that welcome such events should consider that what real instability looks like... look around the world at countries that come unraveled. The horror and death.

    Such as the wages of corruption. Such is the price of not having integrity. By all means... Burn the FCC official you don't like because he rolled back Net Neutrality and of course was appointed by Trump who is the second coming of Hitler/Satan. Whatever you hyperbolic scree.

    Do it.

    But when you do it, set a principle and a precedent. Make your bed because you will lie in it.

    • Such as the wages of corruption. Such is the price of not having integrity. By all means... Burn the FCC official you don't like because he rolled back Net Neutrality and of course was appointed by Trump who is the second coming of Hitler/Satan. Whatever you hyperbolic scree.

      Who's being hyperbolic here? "Burn the FCC official"? He was found to be violating the law and received a "warning letter". Doesn't sounds like a very effective burning. I get a much worse burning that that for exceeding the speed limit. And of course the guy wasn't appointed by Trump so your whole "I'm being oppressed" screed falls flat on its face. Also, YOU'RE the only one that compared Trump to Hitler or Satan in this thread, great strawman though. I totally agree that the laws should be applied

  • ... at least thatâ(TM)s how it would be if the lame-stream media had its way.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.

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