Marcia L. Fudge

10/08/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/08/2020 16:34

Fudge, DeLauro, Lee, McGovern, Bustos, Adams Slam Ag Secretary Perdue Following Confirmed Hatch Act Violation

WASHINGTON -Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations; Rosa DeLauro (CT-03); Barbara Lee (CA-13); Jim McGovern (MA-2); Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Alma Adams (NC-12) slammed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) confirmed he blatantly violated the Hatch Act by making political statements promoting the President's re-election at an official government event on August 24, 2020.

The OSC Hatch Act Unit confirmed the violation in a written response to an August 28 letter sent by the Members sounding the alarm that the Secretary's actions constituted a violation of federal law.

'Government officials in appointed, cabinet-level positions like Secretary Perdue should know better than to abuse their official capacity at the expense of American taxpayers,' said the Members. 'Yet as the Office of Special Counsel has confirmed, that is exactly what Secretary Perdue did when he made political statements in support of President Trump's re-election at an official government event.

'Time and again, Secretary Perdue and this Administration have shown blatant disregard for the rule of law and the code of ethics that ensure public trust in their government. In this instance, the Secretary used his official position to engage in partisan electioneering at an event for a program that is meant to help feed hungry Americans. The Administration is also requiring millions of food boxes delivered by that very same program to include a letter signed-by the President just weeks ahead of the November election. The intent to use emergency pandemic assistance to sway voters is not lost on anyone.

'Politics has no place in the USDA's official operations, especially during a time of such great need. We are glad to see the Special Counsel has taken steps to hold Secretary Perdue accountable. Before engaging in this sort of illegal, inappropriate, and disgraceful behavior in the future, the Secretary should keep in mind his primary duty is to execute USDA's stated mission to 'Do right and feed everyone.''