Steve Bannon will leave the far-right website Breitbart, the company announced on Tuesday. The move comes amid growing tension with President Donald Trump.

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Bannon’s secret press office may violate federal law, report says

It boils down to a person working for Bannon for free.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Jul 28, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:27 pm CDT

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, may be violating federal law by using an outside public relations firm, according to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).

The investigative journalism organization reports that the White House is referring questions for Bannon to Alexandra Preate, who describes herself as Bannon’s “personal spokesperson.” By having an outside firm answer questions on Bannon’s behalf, he may be violating the Antideficiency Act, which says that federal employees “may not accept voluntary services for [the] government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law.”

Preate collaborates with other White House officials on messages, the organization said, and is working for free.

The work that Preate does is different than an outside counsel, CPI explained, because the lawyers—such as ones that Trump and other members of the administration have hired to defend them amid the ongoing Russia investigation—don’t “advise their clients on government work-related matters.”

“She seems to be privy to government information, and she appears to be acting on behalf of a government entity, either Bannon or the White House Press Office,” Norm Eisen, ethics czar during the Obama administration told CPI. “If she’s doing it for free, then that is a potential violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act.”

A “knowing and willful” violation of the act is a felony and punishable by a $5,000 fine or up to two years in prison, CPI noted.

It’s been a rocky few weeks for communications teams in the White House. Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, resigned after Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to lead the communication’s team. Since he’s taken the job, Scaramucci has threatened to fire his entire staff, begun a power-struggle war with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and went on a profanity-laced tirade to a New Yorker reporter.

You can read the organization’s full report here.

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*First Published: Jul 28, 2017, 9:53 am CDT