A federal watchdog agency has accused White House counselor Kellyanne Conway of repeatedly violating the law, and says she should be fired over the alleged violations.
What are the details?
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel — not to be confused with former special counsel Robert Mueller — sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday, telling him “Conway has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act during her official media appearances by making statements directed at the success of your reelection campaign or at the failure of candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.
“In doing so,” the special counsel continued, “she has used her official authority to advocate for or against declared candidates for partisan political office.” It goes on to detail the allegations further, and ultimately calls for Ms. Conway’s “removal from federal service.”
The Hatch Act, as Reuters reported, is a 1939 law “prohibiting executive branch employees from engaging in some political activities.”
The letter was signed by Henry Kerner, who was appointed by President Trump. In it, Kerner also scolded the president, saying, “Ms. Conway’s actions and statements stand in stark contrast to the culture of compliance promised by your White House Counsel and undermine your efforts to create and enforce such culture.”
Evidently, this has been an ongoing discussion between the administration and the federal agency.
Two days prior to Kerner issuing his letter along with the OSC investigation into the matter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote Kerner in defense of Conway, accusing him of presenting allegations “based on numerous grave legal, factual, and procedural errors.”
Cipollone called OSC’s recommendation for firing Conway “as outrageous as it is unprecedented.”
The Washington Post reported that White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves responded to the special counsel’s actions against Conway on Thursday, saying, “Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees.”
He added, “[OCS’s] decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations, and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, nonpolitical manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act.”