An Ethics Expert Explains Why This Sarah Huckabee Sanders Tweet Violates Ethics Law


On Friday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were asked to leave a Virginia restaurant. The next day, Sanders decided to tweet about the incident from her official White House Twitter account.

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“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so,” Sanders wrote.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, chimed in to let Sanders know that her tweet was a clear violation of ethics law—even citing the exact section of the relevant law, which prohibits government employees from using public office for private gain.

“Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a),” Shaub tweeted. “It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out.”

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Shaub went on to explain exactly why Sanders’ tweet violated the ethics law, just in case there was any confusion.

“She can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position,” Shaub concluded.

According to The Hill, the restaurant owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, asked Sanders to leave because of comments the press secretary has made defending the Trump administration’s transgender military ban, which made some of her employees (several of whom are LGBT) uncomfortable.

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”


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