A former high-ranking Trump official has agreed to serve a four-year bar from holding a federal job after she admitted to using her government position to help create a video used by then-President Trump during the GOP nominating convention last year.
Lynne Patton, who had served as a regional administrator at Housing and Urban Development (HUD), agreed to the punishment as part of a settlement with the Office of Special Counsel, which policies the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits the kind of political activities federal employees can be part of.
Ms. Patton had lived in New York City Housing Authority property for a month in 2019 as part of fact-finding for her job. A year later she “leveraged” her relationships with residents she met to get them to appear in a video played during the Republican National Convention, touting improvements in quality of life during the Trump administration, the OSC said.
“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 OSC said.
Ms. Patton’s punishment also includes a $1,000 fine.
She is one of a number of Trump officials who faced questions about their involvement in the 2020 GOP convention.
Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was accused of using government resources to deliver a video address from Israel, where he was on government business.
Mr. Trump also held a naturalization ceremony at the White House alongside acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and used video of that during the convention.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Trump conducted much of the convention — including his acceptance speech — from the White House.
Watchdog groups cheered the OSC’s announcement that Ms. Patton was being punished.
“Even in an administration marked by a callous disregard for ethics laws, Lynne Patton stood out,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “It is gratifying to see real consequences for outrageous misconduct.”