Secretary of Energy Rick Perry stands with the main cyrogenic heat exchange as he speaks with reporters at Dominion Energy's Cove Point LNG liquefaction Project facility in Lusby, Md., Thursday, July 26, 2018. The completion of the facilities export expansion project makes it just the second LNG export facility in the U.S. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Govt watchdog hits Energy Department over health care tweet

July 26, 2018 - 1:46 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says the Energy Department violated federal law when it tweeted about an opinion column by Energy Secretary Rick Perry urging repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Government Accountability Office says the July 2017 tweet was outside the scope of the agency's approved spending, but did not violate a prohibition on grassroots lobbying or propaganda.

The GAO said Thursday that while improper, the tweet didn't cross over into lobbying because it did not directly appeal to the public to contact members of Congress urging the health law's repeal.

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey said the tweet was "another example of the Trump administration's illegal and unacceptable use of taxpayer funds for political gain."

There was no immediate comment from the Energy Department.