Watchdog Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Fauci

NIAID Director’s statements may have crossed the line into prohibited political speech

Today, Federal watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust urged the Office of Special Counsel to investigate statements by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci for a potential violation of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act limits employees of the Federal government from engaging in certain political activities using their official authority, with even stricter prohibitions for certain categories of employees that include Dr. Fauci.

During an interview with The Washington Post published four days before the 2020 Presidential election, Dr. Fauci made a series of statements in his official capacity that left little doubt regarding which campaign he supported and the dire public health implications associated with choosing one candidate over another. As the nation’s most high-profile public health official, his evaluation of the two candidates’ approaches to the pandemic, in light of his other comments in the interview, exceeded the mere exchange of opinions and crossed into partisan advocacy against the sitting President and in favor of then-candidate Joe Biden.

“Laws like the Hatch Act provide vital protections to ensure the Federal government acts impartially to advance the interests of the American public. When high-ranking officials use their official positions to advocate for a specific candidate, they abuse this trust and may violate the law,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust stated. “In order to restore trust in government, it’s essential that the rules be enforced fairly and equally and that officials wielding tremendous power answer for violations they may have committed. When double standards are allowed to exist, the public’s confidence in these important institutions can be tough to win back. We look forward to a thorough investigation of these serious allegations.”

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