The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has launched an investigation of Kellyanne Conway after former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub filed a formal ethics complaint accusing the White House counselor of violating federal law by speaking in support of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore on Fox News while in her official capacity as a White House adviser.
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, filed the complaint last week alleging that Conway violated the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits federal employees from making partisan remarks that could influence an election while using their official government titles.
WH defended Conway against @CampaignLegal’s Hatch Act complaint by saying her words about Jones supported POTUS’s agenda. That’s an admission of guilt! Jones’ only relevance to POTUS is his bid for Senate, and the topic was: Does POTUS have the votes in the Senate for a tax bill. pic.twitter.com/s5GJmiru5i
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 29, 2017
Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the Office of Special Counsel’s Hatch Act Unit, sent Shaub an email on Tuesday to confirm that her office had opened a case file on the matter.
“We have received your Hatch Act complaint and will open a case file to address this matter,” she wrote.
During an interview with Fox News last week, Conway slammed Democratic candidate Doug Jones and encouraged Alabama voters to support GOP candidate Roy Moore. He’s “weak on borders” and “weak on crime,” Conway said about Jones.
“I just want everybody to know Doug Jones, nobody ever says his name and they pretend that he’s some kind of conservative Democrat in Alabama and he’s not,” she said.
I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate. This is at least as clear a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1) as OSC identified with regard to Castro. pic.twitter.com/EwTwPriaVX
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 21, 2017
Conway, who was interviewed with the White House in the background, suggested that Moore would support the GOP’s tax-reform efforts.
“I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway said.
Former George W. Bush White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter opined that she had “violated the Hatch Act by using her position to take sides in a partisan election. That is a firing offense.”
“It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate,” Shaub said last week.