Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, May 22, 2019
The unrelated stories of a financially challenged 38-year-old congressman and the reprehensible harassment endured by a 69-year-old disabled woman working at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) show that Swamp fever can infect anyone — and that Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real and present danger.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate who still seems convinced despite all evidence to the contrary (remember the Mueller report?) that President Donald Trump is an agent of the Kremlin, has not fared well in the financial realm despite a huge pay increase when he found employment in the Swamp after first being elected in 2012.
In the six years since Swalwell “began earning the big salary that comes with being a member of Congress he has failed to pay down his student loans, cashed out his pension, and accumulated credit card debt,” the Washington Free Beacon noted in a May 20 report.
Over at the USGS, Wanda Wooten, who has worked in Washington for more than a decade, has been harassed mercilessly and told she violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal government employees from engaging in political activity at work.
Wooten’s crime? She hung an official White House portrait of President Donald Trump, and two photos of first lady Melania Trump, in her cubicle at the National Minerals Information Center (NMIC), The Daily Caller reported on May 20.
If Swamp psychosis becomes a recognized psychological disorder a lot of psychiatrists will make a fortune.
Speaking of fortunes, Rep. Swalwell doesn’t have one.
The California Democrat began earning $174,000-a-year when he entered Congress in 2013, “but his annual disclosure forms show his financial situation has worsened,” the Free Beacon reported.
“Swalwell has failed to significantly pay down his biggest debt — the $50,001 to $100,000 worth of student loan debt he owed when he first ran for Congress in 2011 still remains at the same level. He has also lost his largest asset — the $15,001 to $50,000 he had invested an Alameda County pension fund when he first ran was cashed out in 2013.”
Swalwell in 2016 reported an investment of between $15,001 and $50,000 in a Vanguard retirement account, but he at the same time began to report significant credit card debt, between $10,001 and $15,000, the report said. His debt to Chase Bank increased to between $15,001 and $50,000.
Swalwell owns no property, according to the disclosures. Public records indicate he is currently renting a recently renovated four-bedroom townhome in northeast Washington, D.C.
“Oddly missing from all of Swalwell’s disclosures is a single checking or savings bank account,” the Free Beacon noted.
House of Representatives rules mandate members to disclose all bank accounts held by members and their spouses, as long as the cumulative amount held in those interest-bearing accounts exceeds $5,000. “It is unclear whether Swalwell has kept accounts off his disclosures because he has less than $5,000 cumulatively, or because he keeps all his money in non-interest-bearing accounts,” the Free Beacon report said.
Swalwell’s Democratic California colleague House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, listed seven checking accounts on her most recent filing. Congressional newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discloses a bank account worth between $15,001 and $50,000. In the year before she ran for Congress, AOC reported earning $43,719 from bartending jobs.
Swalwell said in 2015 he pays $600 out of a $14,500 monthly salary paying down his student loan debt, which would come out to $7,200 a year, or just over 4 percent of his annual salary.
Swalwell did say that he plans to release his tax returns in the coming weeks.
“Americans should have no doubt about where their leaders’ loyalties lie,” Swalwell told the Free Beacon. “All candidates running for president should release their tax returns. I will release mine soon, as well.”
Swalwell has said he will not run for another term in Congress, instead focusing on his presidential campaign. He is polling at about 1 percent in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential nomination field.
In Wooten’s case, in late February she said she displayed a photo of the president and two of the first lady in her cubicle. The morning after putting the photos up, Wooten said she found a note signed by Mike Magyar, listed on the USGS website as acting director of the NMIC.
“Wanda, The Hatch Act specifically prohibits any political campaigning, etc on Federal sites,” the note reads. “As President Trump has an active re-election campaign ongoing, these images violate the Hatch Act so I removed them. Mike Magyar.”
According to the Daily Caller’s report, Wooten said she confronted Magyar about the note, and pointed him to a determination by the Obama administration that pictures of presidents taken in an official capacity did not violate the Hatch Act. According to Wooten, Magyar told her she was creating a “hostile work environment.”
Two months later, Wooten received an email from Kelley Resendes, an attorney with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), informing her that the office had “concluded its investigation into an allegation that you violated the Hatch Act.”
“Although OSC has concluded that you violated the Hatch Act … we have decided not to pursue disciplinary action and instead are issuing you this warning letter,” the letter from Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act unit reads. The letter from the OSC acknowledges that all the photos she displayed of Trump were official photos, along with several of the first lady.
The letter also acknowledges that official photographs are an exception to the Hatch Act rule regarding election-related materials:
“Because you displayed multiple photographs of the First Lady and President Trump, two of which were altered by the addition of ‘I Voted’ stickers, OSC notified you on March 7, 2019 that you were in violation of the Hatch Act. OSC then advised that you could come into compliance with the law by removing all images except for one official photograph of President Trump, provided the ‘I Voted’ sticker was removed. OSC confirmed on March 8, 2019, that you removed the stickers and photographs at issue.”
The Daily Caller noted that “The speed with which the Hatch Act investigation was conducted is in marked contrast to the inaction of her superiors when she reported a pattern of harassment going back more than a year before the supposed Hatch Act violation.”
According to Wooten, the harassment began in October 2017, when someone opened a drink she had left in the refrigerator and spilled on the floor. She said she found a note in her lunchbox at the time, saying “eat shit and die,” which she threw away. Wooten informed her immediate supervisor Shonta Osborne on October 24.
Five months later, the same thing happened again. In March 2018, a note was placed in her lunchbox that read, “You f—ing idiot,” a copy of which was provided to The Daily Caller. Along with the note, her container of fruit was opened.
“Wooten left her cubicle light on regularly because her disability made it hard to turn on and off,” the Daily Caller noted. “She would regularly come in to the office to find it turned off. After leaving a note in April telling her colleagues to leave the light on, she received another note April 18 saying, ‘Your damn light? You mean this U.S. government light, powered by electricity, both paid by taxpayers? Turn it off when not in use, and do not swear at me, thank you. Very sincerely, A. Taxpayer.’ ”
In an email dated Oct. 22, 2018, sent to Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, Wooten writes, “I have gone many times to my supervisor, to her supervisor, and to EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and nothing — absolutely nothing has been done on my behalf concerning the harassment I am forced to endure from my fellow employees … I have had messages posted in my cubicle, on my lunch (I don’t put my lunch in our refrigerator now because I don’t know if someone has spit in it) my personal belongings stolen.”
In a statement shared with the Daily Caller, Wooten writes that she believes her supervisors “have helped to incite some of this anger towards me by not taking steps as unbiased supervisors to stop it. I believe this anger towards me is escalating … This issue has not been dealt with properly or in a timely manner. It has left me in a vulnerable position and I am in fear of my mental wellbeing and my physical safety from unknown assailants.”
In January 2019, Wooten hung a fact sheet from the Heritage Foundation about birthright citizenship in her cubicle. Shortly thereafter she added a photograph of Trump. Wooten claims these were removed several times. After posting a note on Feb. 18 that said, “To the coward that keeps taking this down — come face me … I know who you are,” the next day there was a note that said, “Then come say ‘hello,’ crazy person!”
After Wooten complied with the OSC’s ruling, the one photograph that remained of Trump went missing one morning. She reported this to Magyar, who, according to Wooten, told her, “you have two more” photos, implying that she should use those.
On April 10, Wooten filed the harassment claim with the USGS human resources office that would finally get a response, but the harassment continued, she said.
After replacing the picture of Trump that had been stolen, Wooten also posted smiley faces representing her grandchildren, along with initials for each of them. On April 22, Wooten found both typewritten and handwritten notes calling into question her intelligence and accusing her of building “little shrines to Trump.”
“When people who worship Trump build little shrines to Trump in federal workplace public space against the spirit of the law; and curse and swear like the good Christian Trump is, then we can know that they, like Trump, admire ignorance,” a portion of the typed note reads.
“Never learned the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’? That’s OK, most Trumpsters don’t know!” read the handwritten note, in reference to one of the captions beneath the smiley faces representing her grandchildren.
The Daily Caller noted that Wooten’s reporting of harassment was finally acknowledged on April 10, and on April 24 she received a letter that her allegations were being investigated by an independent investigator for the United States Postal Service named Richard Norcross.
“The decision has been made to obtain the services of an outside contractor to conduct a neutral and thorough administrative investigation into the alleged misconduct,” reads the letter from the office of the USGS regional director’s office.