I expect that Swaggerin' Mike will slip through the the aghast & outraged mob after his remote address to the Republican convention.
"It's all just shredding the Hatch Act," a current U.S. diplomat said, referring to the federal law that prohibits government employees from political activity on the job or in their official capacities.But, is it? Not according to the Congressional Research Service report titled Hatch Act Restrictions on Federal Employees’ Political Activities in the Digital Age (2016):
The Hatch Act provides an exception to allow certain high-ranking officials to “engage in political activity otherwise prohibited ... if the costs associated with that political activity are not paid for by money derived from the Treasury of the United States.” The exception is available to employees who hold positions with responsibilities that “continue outside normal duty hours and while away from the normal duty post,” such as presidential advisers or cabinet officers appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. In other words, these officials may engage in political activities during what would be considered official working time, as long as federal funds are not used for such activities. Any such official must reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the federal resources used in campaign activities.You can look it up in 5 U.S.C. §7324(b)(1), and 5 U.S.C. §7324(b)(2). A SecState is, in fact, free to engage in political activities which would otherwise be prohibited to lesser officials. Quod licet Jovis, non licet bovis.
That is perfectly plain in law. Like I always wondered in school, why does no one do the reading?
Of course, there is also the argument about long-standing traditions:
[Pompeo is] breaking with long-standing traditions aimed at isolating American's foreign policy from partisan battles at home.But, is he? I'd like to know when, exactly, we observed any such tradition. In recent years we've had a SecState who had just finished running for President and another who was preparing to run for President. Folks, the position is far from being isolated from domestic politics.
Everyone knows that 'politics stops at the water's edge,' or at least that's what Senator Vandenberg said back in the 1940s, right? Considering that he was a Republican who was in office throughout five consecutive Democratic administrations, that statement always struck me as his wish rather than a description of reality. Truman and Roosevelt never expressed any such sentiment, and they were the ones in charge of foreign policy, not Vandenberg.
It's rather too late and far too unrealistic to be aghast and outraged about domestic politics creeping into the SecState's role.