Suspected Political Witch Hunt Fail! North Kanas City School Board Candidate Exonerated of All Wrongdoing.
The investigation was initiated by an unknown person who suspected Bechthold of violating ethical provisions of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act is an important law that helps to ensure that government employees remain neutral in their official duties and do not use their positions for political gain. Some are speculating that the investigation may have been politically motivated, with former Jackson County, Missouri legislator and aide to Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Manny Abaca, being a likely suspected due to his Twitter comments directed towards Bechthold which can be viewed at the link below.
In the comments, Mr. Abarca Mr. Abarca stated in the comments that he had a vested interest in making sure that Bechthold did not make a mockery of his school board position. Mr. Abarca also warned that potential “dirt” existed and made references to “keep digging”. The comments were made over Twitter on from November 29th thru December 1st, 2022. Mr. Bechthold was notified he was the subject of an investigation by Office of Special Counsel Attorney Marco Cvijanovic on December 8th, 2022. The close timeframe raises a reasonable suspicion that Abarca was the source of the investigation.
However, it is important to note that this is mere speculation and it must be stated that there is no publicly available evidence to even indicate that Manny Abarca even made the complaint and such actions would be unethical and potentially illegal. Special Counsel investigations must be conducted based on factual evidence and not on political motivations or connections. Any attempt to influence an investigation in such a way would be a breach of the trust placed in public officials and could result in serious consequences. That being said, an investigation into any contact Manny Abarca may have had with Emanual Cleavers office over the matter may be worthwhile, considering that a local school board candidate attracting the attention of a special counsel investigation is rather unusual.
It would appear that Mr. Abarca was attempting to troll Mr. Bechthold, possibly as a foil to showcase himself as a defender of Kanas City's LBGT community. Abarca, a heterosexual, cisgender man, had a contentious election win over LGBTQ and BLM activist Justice Horn, an election during which Abarca was keen on painting himself as pro LGBTQ candidate. Abarca's standing among the KC LGBTQ community is lukewarm with some accusing Abarca of centering himself on local LGBTQ issues rather than acting as an ally and putting LGBT community leaders front and center. Picking a fight with Mr. Bechthold, a conservative candidate, could allay those concerns.
The investigation by the Office of Special Counsel was thorough and comprehensive, and ultimately cleared Bechthold of any wrongdoing, the findings of which are attached in this link, Here. The investigation found no evidence that Bechthold violated the Hatch Act. The Office of Special Counsel, however, refused to confirm the identity of the person who initiated the investigation, citing whistleblower protections.
As a former aide to Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Manny Abarca likely has connections and relationships within the political and governmental spheres. These connections could potentially be used to influence investigators to open up an Office of Special Counsel investigation. Abarca could use his relationships to push for an investigation or even provide information that he believes would support his claims of Hatch Act violations.
Bechthold, for his part, has denied any wrongdoing and has stated that he followed all rules and regulations related to his candidacy for the school board. He has stated that he was not involved in any partisan political activities while serving in his role as a school board candidate. Bechthold has expressed relief that the investigation exonerated him and has stated that he is now able to focus on his candidacy for the school board.
The Hatch Act is an important law that helps to ensure that government employees remain neutral in their official duties and do not use their positions for political gain. However, it is important to consider the motivations behind complaints and accusations of Hatch Act violations. Political motivations can result in frivolous or baseless complaints that waste time and resources.
In conclusion, the investigation conducted by the Office of Special Counsel into Hatch Act violations against Josiah Bechthold serves as a reminder of the importance of ethical behavior in government and the need for transparency and accountability in our public institutions. The outcome of the investigation highlights the importance of considering the motivations behind complaints and accusations of Hatch Act violations. While the identity of the person who initiated the investigation remains unknown, the case underscores the importance of Hatch Act protections for whistleblowers, even if Mr. Abarca seems to be an unlikely Whistleblower.