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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.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.