Politics

Kellyanne Conway Should Be Fired For Violating Ethics Law, Oversight Office Says

Kellyanne Conway should
Kellyanne Conway should "be removed from federal service" for repeated violations of the Hatch Act, says the Office of Special Counsel.
Andrew Harnik/AP

Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly criticized Democratic candidates in her official capacity in violation of the Hatch Act and should lose her job, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

The OSC, which oversees federal personnel issues, issued a stinging report Thursday, calling Conway "a repeat offender."

"As a highly visible member of the Administration, Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law," the office wrote to President Trump.

OSC is an independent federal ethics agency that has no relationship with former Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.

The Hatch Act forbids executive branch employees from taking part in political activities while engaged in their official duties.

The OSC says Conway has made statements "directed at the success" of Trump's reelection campaign "or at the failure of candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination for President."

In March 2018, the ethics agency found Conway broke the law twice in interviews about the Alabama Senate race.

Conway has downplayed the significance of the law, the report says, telling an interviewer on May 29, "If you're trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it's not going to work," and "Let me know when the jail sentence starts."

The OSC recommends Kelly "be removed from federal service." It would be up to her supervisor, President Trump, to fire her — which appears unlikely.

Conway declined to respond to the special counsel's report, as she did in 2018, the office said.

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves called the OSC's recommendation "deeply flawed" and said it violates Conway's constitutional rights to free speech and due process.

"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," Groves said.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, CREW, which filed complaints with the OSC about Conway's conduct said "Conway's repeated violations and publicly expressed disdain for the law show a dangerous disregard for governmental ethics, the rule of law and the long-held understanding that government officials should not use their official positions to advance partisan politics. We join OSC in calling for Kellyanne Conway to be removed from federal service and expect today's findings to send a strong message to officials across the Trump Administration and the federal government that these violations will not be taken lightly."

The Project on Government Oversight said in a statement, "It's untenable for a senior counselor to the President to decide that civil law is no longer something she is bound by. No one is above the law."

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