(JustPatriots.com)- Lynne Patton, who served under former President Donald Trump in the housing department, has been fined and barred from federal employment.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced they found that Patton had violated the Hatch Act, which bars any employees of the executive branch from engaging in any political activity while they are on duty. In addition to being fined $1,000, Patton is also barred from being employed by the federal government for four years.
Patton served as the regional administrator for New York and New Jersey in Housing and Urban Development under Trump. The incident that led to her punishment was a video she produced with residents of the New York City Housing Authority that was meant to air at the Republican National Convention last year.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint after they viewed the video. That led to the investigation into potential Hatch Act violations by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
Patton has been close to the Trump family for years, so it’s no surprise that she continually gave her support to the former president. Before joining HUD, Patton served as the vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation. She also apparently helped to plan Eric Trump’s wedding.
This latest incident wasn’t Patton’s first run-in with possible Hatch Act violations. In 2019, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel also reprimanded her because she used her official government Twitter account to promote various political tweets.
In her office, she also displayed a USA hat that was red and sold by the Trump campaign.
Earlier that year, she published a post on Facebook that she “honestly [didn’t] care anymore” about whether she was violating the Hatch Act with the tweets she was sending out.
In making this decision to punish Patton, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said she used her position as the regional administrator for HUD to stay in public housing in New York for a month. She also apparently “leveraged” relationships she made there to “recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC.”
The video was extremely critical of Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayor of New York City, while praising Trump. After the video aired, several of the residents who appeared in it said they were tricked into being filmed, saying they weren’t supporters of Trump.
Following the latest decision, Noah Bookbinder, the president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the federal employment ban was “gratifying.” He said:
“Even in an administration marked by a callous disregard for ethics laws, Lynne Patton stood out. What made her behavior particularly egregious was that she not only used her position for political purposes, she misled and exploited public housing residents for political gain, showing little regard for the people she was supposed to be helping and the ethics rules she was supposed to be following.”
And Michele Kuppersmith, the executive director for Campaign for Accountability, said:
“Laws like the Hatch Act exist for a reason, and we hope this sends a message to other officials that violating the law has consequences.”