Conservatives Attack Kamala Harris, Jen Psaki Over Virginia Governor's Race 'Violations'

Conservatives politicians and figureheads are calling out Vice President Kamala Harris and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for alleged campaign law "violations."

Harris recently appeared on a video in which she speaks of her support for former Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is running again for the same office. Psaki, meanwhile, said that the Biden administration supports McAuliffe's agenda and is working to support his campaign. But conservatives allege that Harris' and Psaki's gestures go against IRS law and the Hatch Act, respectively—the latter of which many figures within the previous Trump administration were found to have violated.

Trending Politics, a conservative news outlet, noted that Harris' appearance may violate an IRS law that bans churches and charities defined as 501(c)(3) organizations from being involved in political campaigns. The clip is scheduled to air in front of around 300 predominantly Black church congregations, according to CNN.

"I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment," Harris says in the video.

kamala harris jen psaki conservatives
Kamala Harris and Jen Psaki are under fire from conservatives over alleged campaign law "violations." In this photo, Harris speaks at a campaign stop on May 15, 2019 in Nashua, New Hampshire, during her own presidential campaign. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

"Kamala Harris has recorded a video endorsing Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia, which will be played in more than 300 Black churches," Tim Murtaugh, former communication director for Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, tweeted. "Two things: 1) This is expressly illegal according to federal law. 2) Do they think Harris will actually help McAuliffe?"

Kamala Harris has recorded a video endorsing Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia, which will be played in more than 300 Black churches.

Two things:

1) This is expressly illegal according to federal law.

2) Do they think Harris will actually help McAuliffe? pic.twitter.com/gu8Oh8fYOI

— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) October 17, 2021

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for a response.

Meanwhile, the issues raised against Psaki stem from a response she gave during a Thursday press conference. She said that the Biden administration supports McAuliffe's agenda and his campaign.

Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who served under Trump, took to Twitter to amplify accusations that this constituted a violation of the Hatch Act. Known officially as the "Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities," the Hatch Act precludes most members of the executive branch—with the exception of the president and vice president—from being involved in any partisan political campaigns.

Why does the media not hold @PressSec accountable for potential Hatch Act violations? She has twice advocated for political candidates from the podium.

There is no problem in engaging in First Amendment political activity, but it must be done separate and apart from the podium. https://t.co/ICLldHRCgs

— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) October 15, 2021

"Why does the media not hold @PressSec accountable for potential Hatch Act violations?" McEnany tweeted. "She has twice advocated for political candidates from the podium. There is no problem in engaging in First Amendment political activity, but it must be done separate and apart from the podium."

The Office of the Special Counsel, the government body that enforces the Hatch Act, determined that numerous members of the Trump administration violated the rule, according to advocacy group Citizens for Ethics. Many more alleged instances of these violations came during the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, including ones by Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Andrew Guiliani. The group reported that all of these alleged instances were, as of November 2020, under review as potential violations.

McEnany herself was also accused of violating the Hatch Act when she spoke in support of Trump's re-election and urged an investigation into the "Joe Biden-Hunter Biden situation" while on the White House grounds in her then-official capacity as press secretary.