Embattled White House social media director Scavino crazy-tweets AP reporter

White House social media director Dan Scavino flipped out yesterday on Twitter at a reporter who asked him about allegations that he violated federal ethics laws.

Ethics experts say Scavino violated the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits federal employees from using their positions for electioneering, when he used his personal Twitter account to call for a primary challenge to GOP Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash.

Amash was one of the conservative Republicans who opposed Trump’s Obamacare-repeal effort, arguing it didn’t go far enough.

Here was Scavino’s original offending tweet:

While this was Scavino’s personal Twitter account, his profile listed his White House job and included a photo of him inside the White House. Richard Painter, the top White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, told the Washington Post that Scavino crossed a line, and effectively turned his personal account into a work account by posting work-related content:

Dan Scavino

White House social media director Dan Scavino.

Even though Scavino was tweeting from his personal account, the page at the time listed his official White House position and featured a photo of him inside the Oval Office, noted Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration.

“You can’t just load up your personal Twitter page with a lot of official stuff,” Painter said. “This is way over the top. It’s not a personal page. It’s chock full of official stuff.”

This is a topic worthy of another article: People who think their personal social media presence has nothing to do with their work, when it really does.

Next, Associated Press reporter with a great last name, Darlene Superville, tweets Scavino last night asking him for comment:

Scavino replies by basically flipping out:

A few things:

1. Unless you’re the press secretary, you don’t respond to reporters’ inquiries without permission because the story is NEVER supposed to be about you. It’s about your boss, and always your boss. Scavino just made the story about him.

2. Even with permission, you don’t freak out on reporters, and certainly not on the record. It’s amateurish, and makes you look guilty, or at the very least, unhinged.

3. In responding to AP’s inquiry about Scavino’s White House job, Scavino used his personal Twitter account. That in and of itself could be proof that Scavino’s personal Twitter account is in fact a work-related account. Why use a personal account to respond to a question about White House job ethics, unless the two Twitter accounts, work and home, are intermixed?

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Share This Post

  • Zorba

    Bwahaha! Mr. Zorba is not on Twitter, not on Facebook, not on LinkedIn, or any such social media.
    Yes, the social media woman was just plain wrong.
    Mr. Zorba tells everyone in his lab to beware of such things.
    I don’t know how it works at the UN, but the Feds are very clear that when you use your desktop or laptop at work (using the Fed system to access the internet) nothing you do there is private. They can look at your computer use at any time.
    And I would even beware of having a Twitter or other account under my own name if I worked for the Feds myself, even if using my own private laptop, phone, etc. at home or elsewhere.

  • And my favorite story was my social media head who told new hires that they should all feel free to blog about their work on Facebook and LInkedIn. I was like, uh, no, you really shouldn’t. She was PO’d. And she was wrong as can be.

  • Having said all of that, when I was at the UN I had to explain to people, and face much scorn, especially from younger staff, that you really can’t just write stuff on your personal twitter account and not have it reflect on your work. They would even put their job titles in the profile of their personal twitter feed, which I found particularly bad. All of them did it. I did not.

  • Zorba

    No kidding. Mr. Zorba is a scientist working for the federal government, and I am sure that you would not be surprised at all about the ethics office restrictions he has to deal with, who he can talk to and who he cannot, and even what stocks he can own or not. And he has to give them a financial disclosure record every year, including our tax forms and investments.
    None of which seem to apply to the people at the White House.
    All the rules seem to apply to the little guys, not the big guns.

  • woodroad34

    Yeah, breaking rules…not for the betterment of society, but for self-aggrandizement…is the new politically correct. Good and sane people are politically incorrect.

  • woodroad34

    I work for a local municipality. We’re told that putting anything up on Facebook that would identify us as working for the City would be considered a violation…taking pictures of the work area has to be anonymous enough that someone seeing the picture wouldn’t know where you worked. When we get important visitors and I want to show that I was around, I’d have to do it in a circumspect way. I can’t imagine this fool has lesser regulations than I do while being in a federal position.

  • Zorba

    I thought that “crazy tweets” were the norm, and in fact required, for anyone at the White House. Otherwise known as the Ship of Fools.

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