Federal investigation finds senior Trump appointees illegally campaigned on the job
Kellyanne Conway (Photo: screen capture)

More than a dozen senior officials in the Trump administration illegally campaigned before the 2020 election while serving in government roles, according to a newly released federal investigation.

Special counsel Henry Kerner's office found at least 13 senior officials showed a "willful disregard" for the Hatch Act prohibiting political appointees from using their jobs to promote political candidates, and that Donald Trump allowed them to illegally campaign for his re-election on the job despite warnings from ethics officials, reported the Washington Post.

"This failure to impose discipline created the conditions for what appeared to be a taxpayer-funded campaign apparatus within the upper echelons of the executive branch," investigators wrote. "The president's refusal to require compliance with the law laid the foundation for the violations. In each of these instances, senior administration officials used their official authority or influence to campaign for President Trump. Based upon the Trump administration's reaction to the violations, OSC concludes that the most logical inference is that the administration approved of these taxpayer-funded campaign activities."

The scathing 60-page reported faulted former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who gave a campaign speech from Israel, and acting homeland security chief Chad Wolf, who led a taped naturalization ceremony on White House grounds -- both during the Republican National Convention.

Other appointees who promoted Trump's re-election or attacking Joe Biden were energy secretary Dan Brouillette; senior counselor Kellyanne Conway; White House director of strategic communications Alyssah Farah; U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman; senior adviser Jared Kushner; press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; senior adviser Stephen Miller; deputy White House press secretary Brian Morgenstern; Marc Short, chief of staff to vice president Mike Pence; and national security adviser Robert O'Brien.

Trump appointed the special counsel, but no punishment is expected because the president in office at the time is the only authority who may take action to fire or reprimand his political appointees.