White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway is being called to a hearing on Wednesday to discuss a claim that says she has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act. If she does not appear, the House Oversight Committee will vote to possible subpoena her.
The White House received a memo stating that the committee “will hold a hearing to examine the recommendation of the independent Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that President Trump remove Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway from federal service, as well as report by OSC about Ms. Conway and other Trump Administration appointees.” It also stated that it would “hold a business meeting to consider a subpoena in the event that Ms. Conway does not appear.”
The OSC, not to be confused with the office that Robert Mueller previously ran, has reported that Conway’s violations of the Hatch Act were made by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
This comes after Conway made seemingly biased comments on the Senate race of Alabama in 2017. And most recently, the OSC claims that she has used her position at the White House to give weight to specific issues regarding the 2020 presidential campaigns and election.
A report made on June 13th by the OSC states, “Ms. Conway’s advocacy against the Democratic candidates and open endorsement of the president’s re-election effort during both official media appearances and on her Twitter account constitute prohibited personnel activity under the Hatch Act.”
According to the Hatch Act, federal employees are not allowed to participate in political speech, and other specific political activities while acting in their official capacity.
Her “violations” have convinced special counsel Henry J. Kerner of the OSC that she should be removed from office immediately.
The OSC has said in a recent statement that Conway is a “repeat offender” of the Hatch Act and that her “violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions.” They went on to say that “her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law.”
However, the White House is standing behind Conway. White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves recently made a statement saying, “The Office of Special Counsel’s unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
He went on to say that “others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees. Its 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.”
Both special counsel Kerner and counselor Conway have been invited to attend the hearing, by which Conway has been given until 5 pm on Monday to let the panel know of her decision to attend.
In addition to Ms. Conway’s comments, the Oversight Committee is also investigating alleged violations in regards to the security clearance process and a recent decision made by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.