HHS chief back on campaign trail after violation

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will campaign at seven events throughout the state. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will campaign at seven events throughout the state. Jose Luis Magana/AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will appear at several campaign events for President Obama in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday despite recently facing a citation for violating the Hatch Act, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

The Office of Special Counsel found Sebelius had defied the law -- which states executive branch officials cannot engage in political activity when acting in an official capacity -- at an event in February in which she endorsed President Obama for reelection and the Democratic candidate for governor of North Carolina. Because Sebelius immediately reimbursed the Treasury Department for her expenses related to the event and changed its “official” label, OSC did not recommend any punishment.

The White House told the Union Leader Sebelius "will be speaking to the press in her personal capacity on behalf of Obama for America."  

The 1939 Hatch Act makes clear that public officials can attend political events as long as they do so in a personal, and not an official, capacity.

The Obama campaign has asked the media to "refrain from using her official title at the event and in related press reports and note that we will not be taking questions concerning her official responsibilities." 

The HHS chief will campaign at seven events throughout the state.

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