The U.S. Office of Special Counsel says that Kellyanne Conway, a top aide to Donald Trump, has violated the Hatch Act two times during television appearances with CNN and Fox News. Both instances in the Conway violation were related to the Alabama election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones.
But what is the Hatch Act?
According to the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel, the Hatch Act governs federal employees.
“Enacted in 1939, the Hatch Act bars federal employees from participating in political activity while on duty, in the workplace or in an official capacity. The law’s purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.”
How Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway Violated The Hatch Act
The Hill says that Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act by advocating for Senate candidate Roy Moore and against Doug Jones.
“Ms. Conway’s statements during the ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘New Day’ interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.”
The report indicates that Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway has had extensive training on the Hatch Act and the possible ways it can be violated. The OSC says that Conway is allowed to respond to the report of the Hatch Act violation, but Conway chose not to.
Potential punishment for Conway violating the Hatch Act would come from the Trump White House, and they have issued a statement saying that Conway has done nothing wrong.
“Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. In fact, Kellyanne’s statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act — as she twice declined to respond to the host’s specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican.”
The OSC said that in addition to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, two other Trump representatives have gotten Hatch Act warnings. Both White House social media director Dan Scavino and U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley have gotten reprimands from the OSC, says CNN.
Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway’s Violations Involved The Roy Moore/Doug Jones Election
Kellyanne Conway’s first violation took place on November 20 at the White House grounds on Fox & Friends, where Conway was introduced as a counselor to Donald Trump. Conway advised viewers not to vote for candidate Doug Jones.
“Folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners.”
The second Hatch Act violation took place on CNN on December 6, where Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told Chris Cuomo that Donald Trump doesn’t want Doug Jones in the Senate from Alabama.
“[Doug Jones] is out of step for Alabama voters, according to the President. [Trump] doesn’t want a liberal Democrat representing Alabama in the United States Senate.”
Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway Has Violated Federal Ethics Laws Before
Kellyanne Conway’s violation of the Hatch Act is not the first time she has come under scrutiny for violating ethics rules, says the Huffington Post. In early 2017, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway violated federal ethics rules by endorsing Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on Fox & Friends.
“I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Donald Trump can fine Kellyanne Conway, but the White House has decided not to punish her for the Hatch Act violations.