Science and TechSocial Media


Trump's Twitter Adviser Gets Reprimanded For Tweet

The White House social media director was warned after using his Twitter account for partisan political activity.
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 09, 2017

Dan Scavino Jr., the White House's point man on social media, is in trouble because of, well, his social media.

The problem stems from a tweet back in April in which Scavino asked Trump voters to defeat GOP Rep. Justin Amash during his primary. The Office of Special Counsel ruled that tweet broke a federal law.

Scavino was accused of violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials from using their position for partisan political activity. On social media, that means no campaigning while on duty or while using a professional account.

This is how Scavino got in trouble. By tweeting against Amash, and specifically his primary campaign, Scavino's actions were considered political activity. 

And even though Scavino was technically tweeting from a personal account, his Twitter bio at the time listed his official White House position, and his profile picture showed him inside the Oval Office. 

Scavino received a warning letter from the OSC but won't face any other punishment. 

Scavino has since changed his Twitter bio and profile picture, but if he were to violate the law again, the punishment would be pretty steep. Willful violators of the Hatch Act not only risk losing their jobs — they can also be blacklisted from federal employment for up to five years.

And before you ask — the president is exempt from the Hatch Act, so President Trump can tweet as much as he wants about politics.