Federal investigation finds a key part of the 2020 Republican National Convention was illegal
Remember back in August 2020 when former unlawfully appointed acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf presided over a political stunt that used immigrants as human props as part of an effort to reelect the previous president? A number of the immigrants who were sworn in as U.S. citizens in that White House naturalization ceremony would later say they weren't informed prior to the stunt that it would be broadcast as part of the Republican National Convention.
Plenty of experts at the time said it was a corrupt and illegal act. We didn't need an official investigation to figure that out. It was right there in front of our eyes. But we do have one now.
Daily Kos' Mark Sumner reported on Wednesday that the Office of Special Counsel has determined that at least 13 officials with the previous administration violated the Hatch Act, "illegally mixing campaign and government events." Among those named is, unsurprisingly, Unlawful Chad. The Office of Special Counsel said in the report that the administration had been warned repeatedly that such an event would be unlawful. The stunt went on anyway.
"As late as 10 a.m.on the morning of the ceremony—just 45 minutes prior to the event—the DHS ethics official emailed DHS leadership, including the [DHS General Counsel] stating that Acting Secretary Wolf should not participate in the ceremony." Unlawful Chad feigned ignorance in his written statement to the Office of Special Counsel, claiming he "did not know whether video of the ceremony was going to be made publicly available or that it would be used at the Republican National Convention."
"Although the OSC could not prove that Wolf knew the ceremony would be part of the convention, it makes very clear that Wolf would have been hard-pressed not to know that," noted The Washington Post's Philip Bump. The Office of Special Counsel does note that "circumstantial evidence strongly supports the conclusion that he knew, or should have known, of its intended use by the White House."
Why are we giving crooks the benefit of the doubt anyway? This would not be the only time Unlawful Chad would corruptly use his (unlawfully appointed) office to campaign for the previous president, basically carrying out a tour in the final days leading into the 2020 election. In Arizona, he falsely claimed the inhumane and unlawful Reman in Mexico policy created "a safer and more orderly process along the Southwest border." Human rights advocates have documented the policy, which resulted in over 1,500 instances of violence against asylum-seekers. In Texas, Unlawful Chad held a campaign event next to updated border wall. That was just five days before Election Day, Border Report said.
"Taken together, the report concludes that the violations demonstrate both a willingness by some in the Trump administration to leverage the power of the executive branch to promote President Trump's reelection and the limits of OSC's enforcement power," the Office of Special Counsel said in a release. None of this even gets into how the previous administration used the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ceremony for this political stunt after spending years decimating the office.
Following the previous president's electoral defeat, USCIS was reportedly among the agencies forbidden from having any contact with President Joe Biden's transition team. It would not be until Biden's administration that USCIS would have a Senate-confirmed director for the first time in two years.
One other character found to have violated the Hatch Act is former aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller, who during a media appearance "mocked candidate Biden as being under the control of '23-year-old' campaign staff." It's a scant mention in the report for someone who was the architect of some of our nation's most inhumane immigration policies—and has never been held accountable for it. And likely will never be. "I think Stephen Miller should be behind bars," Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar said earlier this year. Instead, there's an active campaign to block any justice for separated families.