A federal watchdog agency on Thursday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel OKs space military branch Harris calls Trump ‘a national security threat’ after he says he’d take information from foreign power Harris calls Trump ‘a national security threat’ after he says he’d take information from foreign power MORE to remove Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway pens op-ed calling for Trump impeachment proceedings George Conway pens op-ed calling for Trump impeachment proceedings US women’s soccer team reignites equal pay push MORE as White House counselor over repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in elections in their official capacity.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a 16-page report to Trump accusing Conway of breaking the law on numerous occasions “by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media” and calling on the president to oust her “immediately.”
“As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” special counsel Henry Kerner wrote to Trump. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
The White House immediately rejected the office’s recommendation that Conway be fired, saying its findings are “deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
The office, which is unrelated to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have ‘no choice’ but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have ‘no choice’ but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE of the Russia investigation, has never recommended that the White House fire an employee over Hatch Act violations.
White House spokesman Steven Groves accused the office of making a politically motivated decision to target Conway.
“Its 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, non-political manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act,” he said in a statement.
Kerner, a former investigator for congressional Republicans, was nominated by Trump to lead OSC. He began his job in October 2017 after the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed him by voice vote.
—Updated at 12:37 p.m.