A non-profit ethics watchdog has filed a complaint against White House press secretary Jen Psaki for possibly violating a law prohibiting executive branch employees from partisan politicking.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said Friday it had filed an ethics complaint against Psaki for a comment that seemed to endorse former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat running for election to his old post.

In the complaint filed to Henry Kerner of the Office of Special Counsel, the group alleged that Psaki violated the Hatch Act during a press briefing on Thursday when she affirmed President Joe Biden's support for McAuliffe, Reuters reported.

In response to a question about Virginia's election on November 2 in the press briefing, Psaki said that Biden "of course" wants McAuliffe "to be the future governor." 

She added that they are "going to do everything" they can to help the former governor as they "believe in the agenda he's representing," CNBC reported.

CREW noted that it appeared Psaki's remarks, made in her official capacity, were aimed to affect the outcome of "a partisan political election."

The group called for a probe and asked Kerner to take any appropriate disciplinary action against the White House press secretary.

The Hatch Act of 1939 limits the political campaigning activities of federal employees but excludes the country's president and vice president.

The group previously filed similar Hatch Act complaints against several officials under the administration of former President Donald Trump.

The complaints were lodged against two former press secretaries, namely Kayleigh McEnany and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and former communication aides Raj Shah and Hogan Gidley.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's Hatch Act Violation

In a statement, CREW head Noah Bookbinder said there is extra pressure on the Biden administration to be above aboard after the "ethics disaster of the Trump administration," the Daily Beast reported.

Bookbinder noted that they deem it important to have a concerted effort to comply with important laws rather than to give repeated passes to restore the American people's faith in government.

He said they hope the Biden administration will have renewed attention to staying on the right side of this law. Other Trump officials that CREW filed complaints at were former Trump advisors Kellyanne Conway and Peter Navarro, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as Trump's third press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who wrote a book describing her work in the administration.

In a statement, Psaki said they'd leave it to the press and the campaign to provide commentary on the race.

The press secretary added that she would be choosing her words more carefully, adding that she takes "ethics very seriously."

Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Virginia voters have been giving better personal ratings to McAuliffe as compared to Republican Glenn Youngkin, Fox News reported.

McAuliffe's support stands at 51 percent, with Youngkin at 46 percent, which puts the race within the poll's margin of sampling error.

McAuliffe is the preferred candidate among Black voters by 63 points; moderates by more than 36 points; urban voters by more than 30 points; suburban women by over 17 points; and parents by more than 10 points.

On the other hand, Youngkin has been the choice among White Evangelicals by 44 points; rural voters by more than 25 points; white voters without college degrees by 25 points; white men by 12 points; and seniors by eight points.

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Written by: Mary Webber

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