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:
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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