Federal agency recommends White House aide Kellyanne Conway be fired

Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act

The administration is fighting back after a federal watchdog agency recommended that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be ousted for violating a law that limits certain political activities of federal workers.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves argued the OSC was violating Conway's right to free speech. The report takes particular issue with what it describes as Conway's disregard for the Hatch Act, including a statement that she would not be silenced by it.

In addition to her recent comments about Biden, she sparked similar ethics concerns by advocating for and against candidates in the 2017 Alabama special election.

The watchdog agency made its recommendation to remove Conway from the federal office after concluding that Conway violated a United States law, known as the Hatch Act, which bars government employees from engaging in political campaign activity. Conway is a longtime Republican operative; she supports Donald Trump's re-election; and so it may have seemed obvious that she'd target a leading rival from the other party. In it, the OSC cites several instances where Kellyanne Conway appeared to go out of her way to engage in "politicking" - that is, engaging in political activity or endorsing a political candidate, in violation of the Hatch Act of 1939. Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the White House issued a statement accusing OSC of violating Conway's rights and "weaponizing" the law. In fact, she started ignoring federal ethics laws nearly immediately after arriving at the White House, and kept ignoring the Hatch Act in the months that followed.

The White House would do well to ignore this transparent attempt at disparaging Conway for political reasons.

The advocacy group Public Citizen was also among those to quickly endorse Kerner's recommendation that Conway be dismissed.

Special counsel Henry Kerner, a Trump appointee, told NPR that Conway's persistence led to his harsh recommendation.

Conway thumbing her nose at the Hatch Act is all of a piece with that broader theory that the old rules of Washington don't mean anything in the new Trump order.

The watchdog is the Office of the Special Counsel, but this has nothing to do with Robert Mueller.

"Conway's repeated violations and publicly expressed disdain for the law show a unsafe disregard for governmental ethics, the rule of law and the long-held understanding that government officials should not use their official positions to advance partisan politics", Bookbinder said.

Conway, a former pollster, has been a fiery defender of Trump, doing so during frequent appearances on cable TV news programs and in talks with reporters at the White House.

The agency took a rare measure by recommending her removal, according to Jacobson. 'Let me know when the jail sentence starts'.

Kerner said he therefore would "respectfully request" that Conway be held to the same standards as other federal employees and that "you find removal from federal service to be the appropriate disciplinary action".

"Allowing Ms. Conway to continue her position of trust at the White House would demonstrate that the president is not interested in following the law_or requiring his closest aides to do so", Cummings said.

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