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Monday, May 20, 2024

Biden Warned by Lawyers to Stop Hosting Top Donors in Oval Office

'You cannot give campaign contributions or solicit for campaign contributions while in the White House...'

(Headline USA) President Joe Biden was warned by the White House Counsel’s office last year to stop inviting his top donors to the Oval Office, according to Axios.

Biden had been regularly giving some of his top Democratic donors access to the White House in the form of Oval Office tours, raising concerns among his lawyers who feared he could be in violation of the Hatch Act. They advised him to stop hosting these tours, which he has done.

The Hatch Act, enacted in 1939, prohibits executive branch employees from using “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election” and fundraising in federal buildings.

However, Biden continues to meet with his top donors on White House property. He has hosted more than a dozen private lunches and dinners, organized by entertainment mogul and Biden campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, on the property.

The White House Counsel’s office has not shut down the events, but has restricted the gatherings to the White House map room, the old family dining room and the tennis court pavilion—areas that are not official workspaces.

“There are certain rooms in the White House, particularly in the residence that are not covered under the Hatch Act,” Kedric Payne, ethics director at the Campaign Legal Center, told Axios.

Payne added that although Biden “is allowed to legally meet with and entertain donors at the White House,” there is a fine line he has to respect. “You cannot give campaign contributions or solicit for campaign contributions while in the White House,” he explained.

When asked about the ethical concerns, the White House denied that Biden was in violation of federal election law.

“It is typical for any president, regardless of party, to host supporters at the White House complex, which is both a working office as well as a personal residence,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said. “President Biden and his team take all rules concerning the White House and re-elections seriously, and we’re proud of that.”

Former President Bill Clinton notoriously caused scandal by hosting top political donors for overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom.

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