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The Obama Administration is absolving U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro for violating the Hatch Act during an April interview when he praised Hillary Clinton and denigrated Donald Trump.
According to a Washington Times report, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed Castro’s actions as an “inadvertent error” and saw no need to reprimand him.
“He owned up to it, and he’s taken the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again,” Earnest said in a press conference. “That’s the expectation that people have when you make a mistake, particularly in a situation like this.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a report to the White House concluding the Castro’s April 4 interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo! News ran afoul of the Hatch Act—which prevents federal government officials from using their positions to champion partisan causes—because the HUD seal was visible during the entire interview and Couric repeatedly referred to Castro as “Mr. Secretary,” which the OSC concluded was a blurring of lines.
Castro broke with precedent by endorsing Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, and he campaigned on her behalf in several highly publicized events. Castro has been considered by many political experts as a leading choice to become Clinton’s running mate, despite his insistence that he was not being considered for that role.