Asked by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to explain his comments, Perdue said he was describing the president’s past behavior and speculating on what he would do in the future if re-elected. Perdue said he had not encouraged anyone to vote a certain way.
The Special Counsel’s office determined that the remarks still ran afoul of the Hatch Act and directed him to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the cost of the trip.
“Taken as a whole, Secretary Perdue’s comments during the August 24 event encouraged those present, and those watching remotely, to vote for President Trump’s reelection,” the report said. “His first words were not about USDA, but about the president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns.”
If Perdue pays the fine, the case will be closed. However, the Special Counsel’s letter said any further violations could result in more serious action.