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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday downplayed concerns that Republican National Convention events staged at the White House potentially violated the Hatch Act during a Politico virtual event.

Why it matters: The Hatch Act prevents executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activity, though it does not apply to the president and vice president. Previous administrations have avoided hosting campaign-style events at the White House in order to separate politics from governing.

What he's saying: "Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values, and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats," Meadows said.

  • "This is a lot of hoopla that's being made about things, mainly because the convention has been so unbelievably successful."

Worth noting: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) is launching an investigation into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's address to the convention violated the Hatch Act.

Flashback: In June 2019, the Office of Special Counsel found that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in an official capacity during television interviews and on social media" and recommended firing her.

  • Conway ignored a subpoena from the House Ethics Committee to testify in connection with the violations.

Go deeper: The Trump White House has a record of violating the Hatch Act

Go deeper

Scoop: Senators offer to slip Section 230 changes into defense bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration is pressing Congress to repeal the tech industry's prized liability shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as part of a must-pass end-of-year defense-spending authorization bill, sources tell Axios, while Senate Republicans try to improvise a more limited change.

Between the lines: The last-minute maneuvering shows that the White House is hoping bipartisan animus against Big Tech will help it notch a win on the topic before Trump leaves office.

U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The economy added 379,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 6.2%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The first Biden-era jobs report shows hiring surged as coronavirus cases eased — though a full recovery remains far off. Economists expected the economy to add roughly 182,000 jobs last month, after adding a paltry 49,000 in January.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Workers are getting a really bad deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This week's spate of data highlighted the difficulties Americans who have lost their jobs have had bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic, and just how much those who have managed to keep their jobs have been working.

What's happening: The Labor Department reported Thursday that the productivity of American workers fell by a revised 4.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the largest decline in 39 years.