The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on Thursday called on President Trump to fire Kellyanne Conway as White House counselor over repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in elections in their official capacity.
The federal watchdog agency sent a 16-page report to the president accusing Conway of repeatedly breaking the law by “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.”
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) June 13, 2019
“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 OSC also notes that Conway “downplayed the significance of the law as applied to her” during a May 29 interview.
When asked about prior Hatch Act violations, Conway joked, “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 White House issued a statement rejecting OSC’s recommendation that Conway be fired, saying its findings are “deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
White House spokesman Steven Groves accused the federal watchdog 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.