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Did Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough Break the Law with National Archives Wedding?

'Morning Joe' co-hosts wed over Thanksgiving weekend

Update: The National Archives Foundation has released a media statement correcting what it says were some erroneous media reports on this story.

As executive director Patrick Madden explained, “Hosting events at the National Archives is part of the foundation’s effort to introduce people to the archives and its holdings. The National Archives Foundation has handled nongovernmental events for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for nearly a decade. Each event requires approval by the NARA and event organizers must adhere to building usage practices and pay fees associated with the event. The Scarborough-Brzezinski wedding event was approved through the normal process and Scarborough-Brzezinski followed all of the procedures that the foundation outlined and required in advance.”

“Funds earned from hosting events at the National Archives Building support the foundation’s mission and provide funding for exhibits, public programs and education initiatives locally and nationally,” he added. “Scarborough-Brzezinski paid the required fees to the Foundation to host the event.”

“While the foundation has encouraged event planners to consider the archives as the venue for weddings over the past few years, Scarborough-Brzezinski was the first couple to choose the archives as their venue for a ceremony.”

Madden went on to cite Section 1280.76 of NARA’s regulations, which has not been updated since 2008. NARA has “routinely approved requests” by the National Archives Foundation for private events in the public areas of the National Archives Building on weekends and that NARA “has initiated the process to update its regulations to reflect current policy.” Madden assured critics that no flash photography took place inside the Rotunda Galleries during the ceremony.

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MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts and lovebirds Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski tied the knot this past Saturday during an intimate ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

And that led some people to wonder whether or not the two violated federal laws by doing exactly that.

Brzezinski announced her marriage on Instagram and Twitter. “I kissed the frog,” she wrote.

The two co-hosts — who got engaged in May of last year — chose to marry during Thanksgiving weekend and outside of public business hours, when many D.C. residents and commuters were elsewhere, celebrating the holiday.

Only four of the couple’s closest friends, along with Brzezinski’s mother and the couple’s combined six children, attended the ceremony. (Brzezinski has two children from a previous marriage; Scarborough, who was married twice before, has four children.)

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who is set to take over as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in January, officiated at the wedding ceremony.

“Congratulations to Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough! It was a pleasure to officiate [at] your beautiful wedding. I wish you years of love and happiness together!” Cummings tweeted on Sunday.

Brzezinski became engaged to Scarborough in May 2017 and told Vanity Fair magazine she will be taking her husband’s last name.

“We wanted it to be really small and simple and not what you expected from Mika and Joe,” she told Vanity Fair about the wedding.

“Everything we do is exposed, and everything felt exposed every step of the way, so we want this to be private until it’s over.”

The couple said their vows “in front of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Vanity Fair also reported, noting that Brzezinski said it “makes sense now more than ever,” given “what we stand for as a couple, and what we’re worried about as a country.”

Scarborough’s and Brzezinski’s wedding was the first such ceremony ever to take place at the National Archives.

Federal laws, however, appear to prohibit any private weddings from taking place at the location (please see the update now at the top of this article).

The National Archives’ special events section online indicates that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 36 Part 1280 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 normally would prohibit such a wedding from taking place inside the premises.

Related: Surprise! ‘Morning Joe’ Rediscovers Journalism Ethics

The site noted, “National Archives facilities shall not be made available” for “events of a primarily personal, political or fund-raising nature.”

After the Washington City Paper inquired about the apparent rules violation, an MSNBC spokeswoman said, “Mika and Joe declined comment.”

Check out the video below:

This article has been updated to reflect the latest information.