White House Defends Kellyanne Conway, Pushes Back Against Hatch Act Claim

Donald J. Trump, left, with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, right. (Photo: Reuters)

The White House is pushing back against the findings of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) claiming Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act while serving as counselor to the president. The OSC sent a report to President Donald Trump on Tuesday recommending disciplinary action against Ms. Conway.

The report cites two appearances — one on Fox News and another on CNN — in which in her “official capacity” she allegedly promoted Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, and discouraged voting for Democrat Doug Jones.

“In passing this law, Congress intended to promote public confidence in the Executive branch by ensuring the federal government is working for all Americans without regard to their political views,” the USC wrote in the report. “Ms. Conway’s statements during the Fox & Friends and New Day interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.”

It is unclear what disciplinary action Ms. Conway may face if any. The law allows for wide latitude regarding disciplinary action. The most severe punishment would be her removal, but it also allows for just a simple pay deduction.

Regardless, the White House took no time defending the counselor to the president, who also happens to be the first woman in the history of U.S. politics to manage a successful presidential campaign.

“Kellyanne Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. “She simply expressed the president’s obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate who support his agenda.”

“Kellyanne’s statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act, as she twice declined to respond to the specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican.”

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