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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 5 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.