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US Election Updates - September 14, 2012

Obama health adviser admits "mistake" following political investigation

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has admitted she made a mistake during remarks in February that investigators say broke the Hatch Act, a federal law that restricts the political activities of government employees.

Sebelius warned at a meeting of the Human Rights Campaign that progress made on gay and lesbian rights under President Barack Obama could be "wiped out in a heartbeat" if the incumbent was not re-elected in the November 6 elections. Human Rights Campaign represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Sebelius also urged for the election of a Democratic governor in North Carolina.

"Secretary Sebelius violated the Hatch Act by making extemporaneous political remarks," investigators with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded in a report to the president.

The findings are unlikely to lead to disciplinary action against Sebelius.

However, the Republicans, who oppose the Democrats’ tolerance of homosexual rights issues, are likely to jump on the incident.

"The report correctly states that I have acknowledged that the statements that you have identified were a mistake," Sebelius said in a September 7 letter to the Office of Special Counsel.

The Hatch Act prohibits most federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty. Only those nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate are allowed to do so but in a personal capacity.

Former Kansas governor Sebelius was appointed by Obama, confirmed by the Senate and sworn into office in April 2009.

The White House has not yet announced whether the president will take action, but said that Sebelius had sought to mend the situation and has not been accused of such violations in the past.