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.
Wow. The Office of Special Counsel finds that @KellyannePolls repeatedly violated the Hatch Act and **is recommendi… https://t.co/AkQ09pIe75— Alex Mallin (@Alex Mallin) 1560441161.0
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."
White House response to the Office of Special Counsel recommending Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal service… https://t.co/3qF6IBOVbi— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche Alcindor) 1560442044.0
"[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.
@Yamiche Now, Conway is ABOVE the LAW because the President says so? Wow! The corruption continues, AG Barr will p… https://t.co/ktVW4LeHOa— Al Cano (@Al Cano) 1560444173.0
@Yamiche This administration really does think it’s above the law.— Niecie (@Niecie) 1560448578.0
@Yamiche This is the most lawless administration and president in the history of our nation.— Zelda (@Zelda) 1560444891.0
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.
@Yamiche Er...Federal employees don't have the 1st Amend rights while they're on the clock. Is that how the WH wou… https://t.co/mOhBWRM91m— K.C. (@K.C.) 1560445633.0
@Yamiche Jesus Christ, your first amendment rights don’t apply when you are working in your official capacity as a… https://t.co/aHxXdhVCPL— Figurative Garbage, Esq. (@Figurative Garbage, Esq.) 1560442221.0
@Yamiche If she wants to have free speech, then she can quit her job and go on any news show dumb enough to have her.— Janine Dupras 🏳️🌈 (@Janine Dupras 🏳️🌈) 1560447065.0
Soon, they were posting examples of the White House's hypocrisy.
@Yamiche Remember when the WH said that those S.O.B.s should be fired because they dared use their free speech whil… https://t.co/eW8CZdCOYc— Passionate Patriot🌹 (@Passionate Patriot🌹) 1560446475.0
@Yamiche So I guess FBI Page/Strzok are off the hook as well?— Liddle' Stable-Whistleblower Citizen Mick (@Liddle' Stable-Whistleblower Citizen Mick) 1560447678.0
@Yamiche But @nbcsnl needs to be shut down...— Dan, riding the gravy boat... (@Dan, riding the gravy boat...) 1560449225.0
Hatch Act violation complaints have increased by nearly 30 percent since Trump took office.