President Donald Trump says he has no intention of removing his senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, from her service in the White House despite her violation of federal law prohibiting government employees from using the office for political ends.
A federal watchdog organization, which functions as a group that oversees the activities of a particular sect of the federal government in order to report illegal acts or problems, has called for the removal of Conway last Friday.
Trump, however, refuses to remove Conway from his side, citing that she is a worthy person to be in office.
“No, I’m not going to fire her, I think she’s a tremendous person, tremendous spokesperson, she’s loyal, she’s a great person. They have tried to take away her speech and I think you’re entitled to free speech in the country…It seems to me very unfair,” Trump stated in a “Fox and Friends” interview.
The most recent issue concerning Conway was raised by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that investigates wrongdoing by government employees. They have claimed on Thursday, June 13, that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions.
The Hatch Act is a federal law that prohibits members of federal office from engaging in certain partisan political activities. It functions to discourage federal employees from acting in favor of their party.
Conway has reportedly violated this Act by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
The report released Thursday cites instances of Conway speaking out about the December 2017 Alabama Senate special election and Senator Doug Jones. “Folks, don’t be fooled,” Conway said during one “Fox and Friends” interview. “He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.”
The report also raises an issue with comments Conway has made to White House reporters regarding Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, both of whom are looking to run for the Democratic party in 2020.
Federal watchdogs are now attempting to remove Conway, whose official title is Counselor to the President, from power due to her “disregard” of federal law and the Hatch Act.
Special Counsel Henry Kerner writes, “If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her position. As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”
However, White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves fires back in a statement, claiming that the Office of Special Counsel’s actions are “unprecedented” and “deeply flawed” in that they “violate (Conway’s) constitutional rights to free speech and due process.” He even goes as far as to say that the Hatch Act is being “weaponized” by the OSC.
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings recently announced a hearing with the Office of Special Counsel on June 26. Conway will be invited to testify at that time.