The White House is standing by Kellyanne Conway – despite growing opposition from Democrats – after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that Conway violated the Hatch Act with appearances on Fox & Friends and CNN’s New Day in which she seemed to back Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Watch Conway’s Dec. 6 CNN appearance above.
The Office of Special Counsel – an independent agency that enforces laws governing federal employees – has found that Conway, a former pollster now serving as counselor to President Donald Trump, twice violated the federal law the bars some officials from political activity.
The TV appearances in question are a Nov. 20 appearance on Fox & Friends in which Conway spoke out against Doug Jones, the Democratic opponent of accused child molester Moore, and a Dec. 6 appearance on New Day when she did the same.
The OSC recommends “appropriate disciplinary action” against Conway.
“Both instances constituted prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act and occurred after Conway received significant training on Hatch Act prohibitions,” according to the office’s report.
The White House is pushing back. “Kellyanne Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. She simply expressed the President’s obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate who support his agenda,” said a statement by deputy press Secretary Hogan Gidely. “In fact, Kellyanne’s statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act – as she twice declined to respond to the host’s specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said President Donald Trump should take “swift and serious disciplinary action” against Conway.
“This is not the first time that an independent government agency has recommended that the White House discipline Kellyanne Conway for breaking the law,” said Cummings. “Ms. Conway has received multiple trainings and warnings, yet she still refuses to follow basic ethics rules. The President must take swift and serious disciplinary action against Ms. Conway. Anything else sets a terrible example.”
The topic is certain to come up – or at least be shouted – during Trump’s afternoon press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.