White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway defends Klobuchar from Meghan McCain criticism George Conway: Pelosi is playing Trump ‘like a drum’ Schumer: Trump was ‘agitated’ during White House infrastructure meeting MORE on Wednesday scoffed at a government office’s findings that she violated a decades-old law barring officials from weighing in on elections in their government capacity as she railed against Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: Warren has a plan for Democrats Biden unveils sweeping education plan Trump claims he was ‘sticking up for’ Biden with ‘low IQ’ comment MORE‘s record.
Conway tore into the former vice president and senator over his vote on the 1994 crime bill, his role in overseeing the 1991 Anita HillAnita Faye HillJuan Williams: Anti-abortion extremism is on the rise Teflon Joe? Biden brushes off attacks Anita Hill: Female 2020 Democrats ‘not being taken seriously’ MORE hearing and his record on immigration as she fielded questions from reporters outside the White House. But she insisted she was not commenting on the 2020 election and that she has a right to size up the record of her boss’s potential opponent.
“I’m going to talk about people’s records because I have the right to,” Conway said.
“I’m not concerned about Joe Biden,” she added. “I’m concerned about the failures of the last administration to deal with the issues of the day, including North Korea.”
When reporters noted the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) found she violated the Hatch Act with two interviews she gave in late 2017, Conway was dismissive.
“Blah, blah, blah,” she said as one reporter recounted the OSC’s findings.
“If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” Conway said.
“Let me know when the jail sentence starts,” she added.
The OSC — an entity separate from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a ‘do-over’ Graham: Mueller investigation a ‘political rectal exam’ MORE‘s Russia investigation — determined in March 2018 that Conway had violated the Hatch Act with two separate interviews related to the Alabama Senate special election in 2017.
The report cited interviews Conway gave in her official capacity to “Fox & Friends” on Fox News and “New Day” on CNN in which she described then-candidate Doug Jones as “weak on crime” and a likely vote against Trump-backed tax cuts. Jones went on to defeat Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreTrump Jr. blasts reported Roy Moore Senate bid: ‘It’s time to ride off into the sunset’ GOP candidate expects Roy Moore to announce Senate bid in June Roy Moore wants judge who ruled against him removed from case MORE.
The OSC referred its findings to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham Harris praises Amash for calling for Trump’s impeachment: He has ‘put country before party’ NY Times reporter wears wedding dress to cover Trump in Japan after last-minute dress code MORE “for appropriate disciplinary action.”
However, the White House maintained at the time Conway had done nothing wrong, saying she did not explicitly tell viewers which candidate to vote for.
In response to an assertion by Conway that she was misquoted in the March 2018 report outlining her violation, an OSC spokesman told The Hill in a statement that the agency “stands by its findings.”
Under the Hatch Act, enacted in 1939, federal employees are barred from making partisan comments that could sway an election or advocating for political candidates while using their official designations. Civil penalties for violations can include fines or dismissal.
Politico reported that formal complaints to the OSC about potential Hatch Act violations increased nearly 30 percent during Trump’s first year in office.
Updated at 12:53 p.m.