The tweet sent in April by Mr. Scavino was on his personal Twitter account. But it then included a photo of him in the White House and his biography identified him as a federal employee.
Mr. Amash wrote back that same day: “Bring it on. I’ll always stand up for liberty, the Constitution & Americans of every background,” in a tweet that also linked to Mr. Amash’s campaign fund-raising website, also a possible violation.
The Office of Special Counsel, in reviewing the tweet by Mr. Scavino, concluded that “this activity violated the Hatch Act. Accordingly, we issued Mr. Scavino a warning letter,” although it would not release a copy of the letter on Friday.
The only public response came in a notification received late Thursday by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, the liberal nonprofit group that filed the complaint against Mr. Scavino. “In addition, we note that Mr. Scavino was recently counseled about the Hatch Act by the Office of the White House Counsel,” the letter to CREW, as it is known, also said.
Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said he was pleased that the agency reached this conclusion.
“The law is clear that government officials can’t use their official positions for political or campaign activity,” Mr. Bookbinder said on Friday, after his organization released the letter. “It is important to maintain real lines between government and politics and the Office of Special Counsel’s position makes clear they are going to be active to protect those lines.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is the second time a White House official has been reprimanded for an apparent ethics violation, with Kellyanne Conway being rebuked in February by the Office of Government Ethics for urging the public to buy products sold by Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand.
The federal law puts no limits on the ability of federal officials to take positions that are critical of policies supported by others.
But a federal official may not use his or her official position, while on duty, or in a federal workplace, to urge a particular political outcome, like the ouster of Mr. Amash, or use it to raise money for a political cause, which led the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics group to also file a complaint against Mr. Amash with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which has jurisdiction over members of the House.
A violation of the Hatch Act can result in a letter of reprimand, a civil fine of up to $1,000 or the suspension, demotion or even the removal of a federal employee, with enforcement powers generally vested in the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, if a charge is raised by the Office of Special Counsel, for individuals like Mr. Scavino who is not confirmed by the Senate.
In other cases, which happens more frequently, federal employees accept settlements that often include suspensions or resignation, without a formal charge.
Members of Congress can be disciplined by the House or Senate ethics committees. CREW has not received a response to its complaint filed about Mr. Amash’s tweets, as these investigations often take many months.
Mr. Amash has shown no sign that he is backing down in his occasional criticism of Mr. Trump or willingness to challenge him, including supporting an independent investigation of Russian hacking of the 2016 election.
Mr. Scavino, however, has been more careful in his tweets, the Office of Special Counsel said in its letter to CREW. “A review of Mr. Scavino’s personal Twitter account since that time did not reveal any new violations,” the letter from the agency said.
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