U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse is among the House members sponsoring the Our Lawn Act, a bill to expressly prohibit the use of federal property, including the White House, from use in political conventions or fundraising events.
The proposal comes after President Donald Trump used the White House as a backdrop during the Republican National Convention last month. The Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits most government employees from engaging in partisan political activity while performing their job duties, although Vox reports that the president is exempt.
“For nearly a century, the Hatch Act has existed to provide a clear distinction between public servants and electoral candidates. Both parties have observed and respected this law for decades and have condemned apparent Hatch Act violations,” Neguse’s office wrote in a statement. The use of the White House during the RNC “misappropriated public resources for the private benefit of the Republican Party and put federal employees in a position where their employers were ordering them to violate the law.”
The bill would create criminal and civil penalties for violations. Trump Administration employees have been the subject of multiple Hatch Act allegations, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for delivering a speech filmed in Jerusalem for the convention. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said afterward that "Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares" about such violations.