A former Trump official from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lynne Patton, has been fined by the Office of Special Counsel and banned from holding any kind of public office for the next four years for violating The Hatch Act. Her violation wasn’t especially heinous, considering all the violations from the former administration, so why was Patton singled out among her peers who also clearly broke the law? Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins believes he may have the answer for that.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

This week, the office of special counsel announced they were finally handing down some punishments for the violations of the hatch act that took place during the Trump administration. Now, unfortunately it’s only one person that they’re actually punishing, but it’s a pretty good punishment. The person in question is Lynne Patton, who was a regional administrator for the department of housing and urban development for New York from the federal government. Her region was New York, and she used her power to basically make an ad critical of New York mayor Bill de Blasio at the time. And so, she, she, it says she leveraged her connections to recruit people to film this ad. And they did it all obviously on HUD time, which is the violation of the hatch act. She was not allowed to engage in any kind of political stuff on the clock. She did, she got popped for it.

So now she gets fined a thousand dollars and she’s banned from holding any kind of public office for four years. Okay. Thousand dollars, whatever. Four years like you can’t work in this sector that you’ve been working in. That is a pretty massive punishment and to be honest, that’s a punishment that I love. But the big question is why Patton? It’s not as if her, her crime here, this transgression was particularly heinous. I mean, sure. Maybe it was a little more involved than some of the other hatch act violators, but you also had repeat offenders. You know, Kellyanne Conway who broke the hatch act so many times that the office of special counsel told Donald Trump, you need to fire her. You had other members, Ivanka violated the hatch act. I think Jared Kushner did as well. Peter Navarro violated the hatch act. Who else was in here?

Uh, let’s see, Ben Carson was also there. I mean, just the list goes, Sonny Perdue. My God. You know, every member just about, and I’m sorry, Ben Carson was not found to have violated the hatch act. And the reason I have to correct that is because that that is important and it kind of makes me wonder. Lynne Patton is, is black and Lynne Patton is now the only member of the Trump administration who’s being actually punished for violations of the hatch act. Now I don’t want to say, I really don’t want to say that I think it’s because she’s black and all of these other people are not, but, I kind of feel like that may be what’s happening. Again, you look at all these other white people from the Trump administration who violated the hatch act constantly, Kellyanne Conway, like the whitest of the white people was breaking it like every couple of months. Ivanka Trump also exceptionally white, violated it multiple times.

And, and, and, and look, I’m not even trying to suggest that it’s only because she’s black. I think it is because her violation was a little more planned out than some of these other spur of the moment hatch act violations. But what I do want to see is more of these decisions. Trump wouldn’t punish anybody because as we know it was up to them to issue punishments, the office of special counsel couldn’t do it. So if they’re apparently allowed to do it now, do it now. I want to see Kellyanne Conway barred from politics for the next 50 years. I want to see Sonny Perdue banned from politics for 50 years. Peter Navarro banned from politics and you know what, banned from talking about politics, because that guy’s dumb as a rock, for 50 years. And I picked 50 because given the age of all of them, that’s pretty much a life sentence. But at least one person got punished. But if they want to prove that it wasn’t just because of, you know, what she looks like, they may want to throw out some other punishments to other people as well.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced