White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway is in quite a bit of trouble right now.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has recommended that she be relieved of her duties in the federal government due to repeated violations of the Hatch Act.
The law in question is a 1939 provision that prohibits employees of the federal government, with the exception of politicians themselves (such as the president and vice president) from engaging in political activity in their official government roles. The Special Counsel’s office alleges that Kellyanne Conway has done just that in her regular television appearances.
The OSC is quoted as saying that Conway’s activities broke the law “by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
Special Counselor Henry Kerner went on to say:
“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…Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
The report on Conway’s alleged violations amounted to a 17-page tome that was sent to the White House.
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) June 13, 2019
The White House wasted no time in responding to the report, saying that the conclusions reached are “deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
White House Spokesman Steven Groves went a step forward, and accused the OSC’s report of having political motivations.
“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.
In addition to the television appearances, the report accuses Conway of using her @KellyannePolls Twitter account to attack Democratic presidential candidates and to support Trump’s 2020 reelection effort.
The report was apparently initiated by Trump-appointed OSC head Henry Kerner. Officially, only Trump himself can fire Conway for these alleged violations — the OSC simply makes the recommendation.
Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.