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    UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reprimanded for political tweet

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has been reprimanded for violating a law limiting government employees' political activity by voicing support for a South Carolina congressional candidate.
    Seth Wenig/Associated Press/File 2017
    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has been reprimanded for violating a law limiting government employees' political activity by voicing support for a South Carolina congressional candidate.

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has been reprimanded for violating a law limiting government employees’ political activity by voicing support for a South Carolina congressional candidate.

    Last week, the US Office of Special Counsel notified Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington it had issued a warning letter to the former South Carolina governor but would pursue no further action. A Haley spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

    The watchdog group in June wrote to the Office of the Special Counsel, accusing Haley of violating the Hatch Act, a 1939 law allowing government officials to personally donate money to political committees or engage in a variety of partisan activities, so long as they do so during their personal time and don’t use government resources. The group said at the time that Haley should not have retweeted one of President Trump’s Twitter messages earlier that month supporting Republican Ralph Norman, who went on to win a special election for the seat formerly occupied by Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney.

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    On June 19, the day before Norman faced off with Democrat Archie Parnell in South Carolina’s Fifth District, Trump sent several tweets praising the millionaire real estate developer.

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    Later that day, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, Haley retweeted the first message from her verified Twitter account, which lists her as US ambassador to the United Nations. At the time, the group said, Haley had at least 356,000 followers, a number that has since grown to more than 516,000.

    Haley deleted the message after journalists questioned it on Twitter, but the group said Haley should still be investigated and disciplined. In its Sept. 28 letter, the Office of the Special Counsel said it had advised Haley on how to avoid further violations and would consider ‘‘such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law’’ if Haley did it again.

    ‘‘Thus, although we have concluded that Ambassador Haley violated the Hatch Act, we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and are closing the above-referenced file without further action,’’ the Office of Special Counsel wrote.

    Haley isn’t the first Trump administration official accused of sending tweets in violation of the Hatch Act. Earlier in June, White House social media director Dan Scavino was issued a warning for using an official-looking Twitter account to call for a Michigan congressman’s defeat. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint in that case also, and Scavino was warned if he engages in such activity in the future, the office will consider it a ‘‘willful and knowing violation of the law.’’

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    Other Cabinet officials campaigned in a special election to fill Georgia’s Sixth District seat, with former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stumping for Republican Karen Handel earlier this year. An invitation for that event reportedly didn’t mention the title ‘‘secretary,’’ instead referring to the two Cabinet officials ‘‘special guests.’’

    Earlier this year, Haley made a nominal donation of $100 to the GOP primary campaign of Norman, a former state lawmaker who was one of her chief legislative supporters when she served as governor.