June 9, 2017 / 5:54 PM / a year ago

Trump social media director violated law with call to oust congressman - agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino broke the law in April in calling for Trump supporters to defeat a Republican congressman at the polls, according to a letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Dan Scavino, director of social media and senior advisor to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, records Trump greeting audience members at a campaign rally in Bangor, Maine June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The office found that Scavino had violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive branch employees from engaging in some forms of political activity, and it issued a warning to him, it said in the letter.

Politico on Friday was the first to report on the contents of the June 5 letter, which was delivered to an organisation that had brought a complaint.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump boards his plane as his social media director Dan Scavino takes his photo from the top of the stairs following a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, U.S., August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In a tweet on April 1, Scavino had urged voters to defeat Republican Representative Justin Amash. Amash is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which had helped beat back an early version of a healthcare reform bill that was a top priority for the president.

“@justinamash is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary,” Scavino tweeted.

“Mr. Scavino has been advised that if in the future he engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law,” Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Office of Special Counsel’s Hatch Act Unit, wrote in the letter.

The office is an agency independent from the Justice Department that investigates acts in which government employees commit “prohibited personnel practices.”

Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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