The Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits executive branch employees—with exception to the President and Vice President—from engaging in political activity. This includes endorsing candidates, appearing at campaign rallies, generating funds for candidates, and other forms that can be seen to give a partisan advantage.
White House aide Kellyanne Conway has come under fire numerous times for perceived Hatch Act violations. Now, the Office of the Special Counsel (unrelated to Special Counsel Robert Mueller) is referring Conway for removal for said violations.
The agency accused Conway of violating the Hatch Act twice last year for endorsing failed Alabama Republican senate candidate Roy Moore on news networks, but it left the "consideration of appropriate disciplinary action" to President Donald Trump.
This is the first time the agency has recommended a White House official be fired, but it minced no words in a recent press release:
“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.”
In a recent press release from White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves called the OSC's findings "deeply flawed."
"[The OSC's] 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."
Despite the familiar claims from the White House of partisanship, former GOP staffer Henry Kerner was appointed by Donald Trump himself to lead the Office of the Special Counsel. He's the one who referred Conway for removal.
The White House's response painted a portrait of a lawlessness that many believe the Trump administration has embraced.
As for claims that abiding by the Hatch Act would "violate [Conway's] constitutional rights to free speech," people had an important reminder for the White House.
Soon, they were posting examples of the White House's hypocrisy.
Hatch Act violation complaints have increased by nearly 30 percent since Trump took office.