Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway – one in a series of Donald Trump’s campaign managers and now serving as Counselor to the President – violated the Hatch Act twice, according to a report published a few minutes ago by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The Hatch Act prohibits public employees from using their official capacity to conduct political activity, special counsel Henry J. Kerner said in the report, citing two televised interviews (Fox News & CNN) in which she was critical of Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama U.S. Senate race and in favor of Republican Roy Moore. Jones won the race.
The OSC is separate from the other investigation of the White House being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Will she be charged? That’s the question being asked today by Washington Post’s Walter Shaub. Punishment for violation of the Hatch Act ranges from letter of reprimand (read: slap on the wrist) to dcivil penalty of up to $1,000 to suspension, termination or even debarment from federal employment for up to five years. How vigorously this will be pursued depends on investigator Henry Kerner, and whether he enforces the law. And that’s complicated, because of who Kerner is.
Conway was just here in New Jersey Sunday night, headlining a high-dollar fundraiser in Moorestown for CD3 Rep. Tom MacArthur, who more than any other Republican in the Jersey congressional delegation has married his fortunes to Conway’s boss, including putting his name on a major provision in his party’s efforts to take down Obamacare. That night, four activists from the immigrants rights organization Make the Road New Jersey got into the event too on the eve of the DACA deadline, and were escorted out by security.
The OSC says it submitted its findings to President Donald Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.” That’s very entertaining. The White House denies it all, in fact it appears the White House is in deep denial about what rules actually apply to them. The president and vice-president are exempt from Hatch Act rules, someone in Conway’s position is not. In 2017, Conway violated federal rules that prohibit federal employees from using their public office to sell products. Shortly after Trump tweeted his outrage that Ivanka Trump’s fashion line was discontinued at Nordstrom’s; Conway turned an appearance on Fox News into an impromptu “infomercial,” saying “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
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