The Office of Special Counsel has reached a settlement with former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official Lynne Patton, a political appointee and ally of former President Donald Trump, who had been charged with violating the Hatch Act in connection with a video she produced for last August’s Republican National Convention, The Hill  reports.
According to the OSC, which announced the settlement Tuesday, Patton conceded she violated the Hatch Act when she shot video footage of her interviews with residents of the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) about their living conditions but then failed to tell them the video would be used for political purposes.
“During her approximately one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at RNC,” the OSC reported in a press release. “Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration.”
In effect, Patton, a key Trump supporter in 2016 who spoke at that year’s Republican National Convention, used her position as a HUD Region II administrator to bamboozle people.
“By using information and NYCHA connections available to her solely by virtue of her HUD position, Patton improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign in violation of the Hatch Act,” per the statement.
The conditions of the settlement specify that Patton, appointed to HUD in 2016, will be barred from federal employment for two years and must pay a $1000 fine.
That fine seems pretty paltry for someone who, in a written statement to The New York Times, denied the participants were misled, even though several people told the newspaper they weren’t informed the video would be played at the convention.
But at the time Patton claimed:
“Each participated regardless of political party because they recognized the importance of having a voice on the national stage and the undeniable improvements that have transpired under this administration.”
The only real purpose of this video was to make Trump look good and Patton took terrible advantage of unsuspecting people who may or may not have been Trump supporters, in effect duping them into doing something they may not have wanted to do if they knew what the video was going to be used for. But then Patton was appointed by the Trump administration, so what else is new?
It’s unsurprising when you consider that during Trump’s four years in office, the administration was hit with a number of Hatch Act violations, with the OSC even recommending that then-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired for her repeated  violations.
Trump can whine all he likes about being victimized when it’s really been the other way around and we should be the ones complaining.