The Office of Special Counsel has said it has settled a Hatch Act complaint in which a former regional administrator at HUD agreed to a $1,000 fine and a four-year debarment from federal employment.
The debarment, one of the longest such bans in Hatch Act cases of recent years, underscores that penalties under the law can apply even after someone has left federal employment—in this case, Trump administration political appointee Lynne Patton, who left HUD early this year, who the OSC said used her official position to produce a video about housing conditions for the Republican National Convention.
The OSC said that she received permission in early 2019 to temporarily live and observe living conditions in the New York City Housing Authority, where she “met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration.
“By using information and NYCHA connections available to her solely by virtue of her HUD position, Patton improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign in violation of the Hatch Act,” the announcement said.