President Barack Obama will not discipline Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while in their administrative role.
The Hill reported Tuesday that Castro will not face any repercussions for his April interview with Yahoo News' Katie Couric. During the interview, Castro said he was supporting Hillary Clinton while discussing HUD programs. He has since apologized for violating the Hatch Act. Castro is a potential running mate for Clinton.
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"I think to his credit, Secretary Castro acknowledged the mistake that he made," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during Tuesday's press briefing. "He owned up to it, and he's taken the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again."
A report issued Monday by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that Castro professed his own personal political views while acting in his official capacity.
"Secretary Castro’s statements during the interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business, despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity," the report said.
Castro has received several briefings on the Hatch Act. Earnest said that Castro's mistakes expose the hazards of answering journalists questions bluntly.
"In responding to a journalist’s question about the 2016 election, I offered my opinion to the interviewer after making it clear that I was articulating my personal view and not an official position. At the time, I believed that this disclaimer was what was required by the Hatch Act. However, your analysis provides that it was not sufficient," Castro wrote in his response to the report.
The Obama administration decided in July that it would prohibit cabinet officials from voicing support for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.