DISABLED ELDERLY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE REPORTED HARASSMENT, THEN WAS INVESTIGATED FOR HANGING OFFICIAL PHOTOS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP
A 69-year-old disabled woman working at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) repeatedly reported harassment from her coworkers to her superiors, linked to her support for President Donald Trump. Instead of investigating her concerns, someone at the agency reported her for a violation of the Hatch Act.
Wanda Wooten, who has worked in the federal government for more than a decade, is currently a statistical assistant at the National Minerals Information Center. In late February 2019, she hung a picture of the president and two of first lady Melania Trump. The next morning, she found a note signed by Mike Magyar, listed on the USGS website as acting director of the NMIC.
“Wanda, The Hatch Act specifically prohibits any political campaigning, etc on Federal sites,” the note reads. “As President Trump has an active re-election campaign ongoing, these images violate the Hatch Act so I removed them. Mike Magyar.”
Wooten confronted Magyar about the note, and pointed him to a determination by the Obama administration that pictures of presidents taken in an official capacity did not violate the Hatch Act. According to Wooten, Magyar told her she was creating a “hostile work environment.” (RELATED: 18 Years Of Energy Data Manipulation ‘Entirely Unacceptable,’ No Proof Doctoring Has Ended)
Two months later, Wooten received an email from Kelley Resendes, an attorney with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), informing her that the office had “concluded its investigation into an allegation that you violated the Hatch Act.”
A photo of the Trump portrait in Wooten’s office
“Although OSC has concluded that you violated the Hatch Act … we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and instead are issuing you this warning letter,” the letter from Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act unit reads. The letter from the OSC acknowledges that all the photos she displayed of Trump were official photos, along with several of the first lady.