Nonprofit Legal Center Says Steve Bannon May Have Illegal PR Arrangement

The Campaign Legal Center sent a letter to the White House Friday, complaining that Trump’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, is using a private public relations executive to represent official White House business.

Publicist Alexandra Preate says she doesn’t receive pay from Bannon, but she’s worked on his him since his time as executive at Breitbart News.

The Campaign Legal Center now requests that the Department of Justice and Office of Government Ethics investigate Preate and Bannon, under suspicion of violating the Antideficiency Act.

Associated Press reports:

Steve Bannon has worked with publicist Alexandra Preate since he was head of Breitbart News. Preate has continued to work with reporters on Bannon’s behalf even though she is not a government employee. A recent article by the Center for Public Integrity quotes an associate of Preate’s saying she doesn’t receive pay from Bannon.

The Campaign Legal Center says that appears to be a violation of what’s called the Antideficiency Act. The law says government employees “may not accept voluntary services for (the) government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law.”

The letter was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Office of Government Ethics Acting Director David Apol and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, accussing Bannon of “several potential violations of federal law and regulations.”

Campaign Legal Center is a Washington based nonprofit, and former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub now works for them.

Shaub is known as a vocal critic of President Trump.

Their letter of complaint states:

If Bannon has accepted Preate’s provision of professional services to the government without any compensation, then Bannon is likely in violation of the Antideficiency Act, […]

[…] Second, Preate appears to be providing services to the White House, but at other times, she also appears to be providing services to Bannon – indeed, Preate had been serving as spokeswoman for Bannon as far back as August 2016. […] To the extent that Preate is providing services to Bannon (or other White House staffers) in his personal capacity, Bannon may be in violation of the executive branch gift rules, which prohibit an employee from soliciting or accepting a gift “because of the employee’s official position” or from a prohibited source.

The letter continues to accuse Bannon of violating several federal laws in his PR arrangement with Preate.