A government agency called the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel recommended that White House staffer and 2016 Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway be “removed from Federal Service” due to repeated violations of the Hatch Act.
The office, an independent agency that enforces violations of the Hatch Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and other laws, sent a report to the White House this week stating that Conway has “violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
“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.”
The OSC had also determined in March of 2018 that Conway had violated the Hatch Act during a pair of television interviews. The office went on to urge President Trump to remove Conway from her position.
The Trump administration called the report “deeply flawed,” per Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey on Twitter.
The Hatch Act is a law passed in 1939 that restricts the political activity of members of the executive branch. The president, vice president, and certain others are exempted from the act. In 2012, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was violating the Hatch Act. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who is now running for president, was also charged with violating the act in 2012.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 13, 2019
Several Trump administration figures have received Hatch Act warnings, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Stephanie Grisham, the press secretary for first lady Melania Trump.
The OSC does not have the power to unilaterally remove Conway from office nor may it bring criminal charges. The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel is also not to be confused with the special counsel’s office which was investigating the Russia matter under Robert Mueller. That office was part of the Justice Department.
Conway, a longtime Republican pollster, joined President Trump’s campaign in the later stages of the 2016 race. Since the president’s inauguration, she has served as counselor to the president, frequently defending the commander in chief in television interviews. Conway’s husband, George Conway, a longtime Republican lawyer, has emerged as one of the president’s most consistent critics among Republicans, per The Inquisitr, leading to occasional pushback from Trump himself.