Look in the Mirror, HUD Secretary Castro

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In a Trump-esque move, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro took to Twitter last night to voice his opinion on the President-Elect’s transition to the White House. Heightening the bar of criticism set by his peers, Castro described Mr. Trump as the, “most corrupt guy to take the Oval Office.”

While Former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas and longtime Democrat Castro has been critical of Trump from the start, perhaps it is appropriate to examine Castro’s own history with corruption.

This past July, Castro drew heat for his violation of the Hatch Act during an interview with Yahoo News anchor, Katie Couric. To elaborate on this act, the Hatch Act generally applies to employees working in the executive branch of the federal government. The purpose of the Act is to maintain a federal workforce that is free from partisan political influence or coercion, or undertake any partisan political activity. For example, this act would not condone, let’s say, the endorsement of a Presidential candidate with the HUD logo visible behind an executive official, such as was the case in this interview.

When Couric posed a question geared towards the HUD Secretary’s endorsement of Clinton, Castro responded, “Now taking off my HUD hat for a second and just speaking individually, it is very clear that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced, thoughtful, and prepared candidate for president that we have this year.” It is important to note that Castro was a possible VP candidate at the time of this response.

In defense of this partisan comment, Castro has stated, “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, after being briefed on the specific requirements of the Hatch Act four times, the Harvard Law graduate’s explanation may appear skeptical to the average layman. To quote HUD ethics officials, Castro “should have known that he could not switch from speaking in his official capacity to speaking in his personal capacity at an event or during an interview.” The Housing and Urban Development Secretary, one of top seats of the Executive Branch, must exhibit better judgment.

Despite the precedent set by lower level Hatch Act violations, resulting in suspensions and informal settlements, President Obama has opted to clear Castro of punishment.

Corruption, it would appear, lies in the mirror for Julian Castro.

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