(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) While attempting to deflect a question on the growing Cocaine-gate scandal, a White House spokesperson may inadvertently have acknowledged that a member of the Biden family—presumably the president’s son, Hunter—was intending to deal the recently discovered dime bag.
On claims "the cocaine found in the White House had belonged to either the president or his son. Are you willing to say that that's not the case?"
Mid-level Biden staffer Andrew Bates: "I don't have a response to that because we have to be careful about the Hatch Act" pic.twitter.com/zuM30v5Fli
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 6, 2023
Deputy press secretary Andrew Bates suggested that he was unable to address a question about the scandal because doing so would be a potential conflict of interests.
“I don’t have a response to that because we have to be careful about the Hatch Act,” he said.
The act prevents many civil-service officials in the Executive Branch, with the exception of the president and vice president, from engaging in partisan political activity.
However, it also has been construed, in some cases, as preventing them from issuing commercial endorsements where conflicts of interest may be involved.
In 2020, for example, leftist media outlets accused Ivanka Trump—the daughter of former President Donald Trump, then acting as an adviser to the president—of violating the act for posing on Twitter with a can of delicious Goya beans.
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
“It would be hard for Ivanka Trump to argue that her post was in a personal capacity now,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the far-left activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, in a statement following the Goya episode, according to CNN.
“As for President Trump, unlike those who work for him, the President is exempted from many of the laws and rules we count on to enforce ethics in government,” Libowitz groused. “This administration has proved that to be a mistake.”
While the Left may still be stewing over the previous president, President Joe Biden’s administration has proven to be far more ethically challenged, despite his pledge to restore “decency” to the White House.
Biden: I ran for president to restore "decency" and "honor" and to treat "people with some respect."
Biden has spent the past week smearing Trump voters as "backwards" and "full of anger, violence, hate, and division." pic.twitter.com/hrYboiLj5L
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 5, 2022
Even so, Twitter users were perplexed as to what conflict of interest Bates might have been referring to with respect to the cocaine reportedly found over the weekend in the West Wing.
Hatch Act? What? That makes zero sense. https://t.co/RmsAVZ6WrI
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 6, 2023
If, in fact, the cocaine in question were part of a commercial enterprise, Hunter Biden would be the most likely culprit—as, indeed, he already is based on process of elimination, given his long and troubled history of drug abuse.
While it is unclear whether the 53-year-old has sold drugs before, it would not be far outside of his skill set, which includes influence-peddling and art sales, both involving equally nebulous financial transactions.
As for Bates’s endorsement of the business, that may not be of great concern in his current position. A violation of the Hatch Act might, in fact, be a means of career advancement.
Current press secretary Karine Jean–Pierre and her predecessor, Jen Psaki, both stand accused of egregious breaches of the act during their respective tenures at the podium. However, neither has been held accountable, to date, for their ethical lapses.
Other Biden officials alleged to have violated it with impunity include former chief of staff Ron Klain, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge.
“The Hatch Act was a law used to pillory previous administrations but officials now appear content to sweep it under the rug,” said Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump official who now works for the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust.
Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/realbensellers.