Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway should be removed from office for repeatedly violating a law barring federal employees from engaging in election politics in their official capacity, the Office of Special Counsel has recommended.
The Office of Special Counsel Thursday sent a report to President Donald Trump, detailing how Conway, a South Jersey native, “violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media,” according to a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about the Hatch Act, what the office says about Conway, and how officials are reacting to the agency’s recommendation.
–What the Office of Special Counsel recommended
The office said Conway was repeat offender of the Hatch Act, and should be removed from her federal position as a result.
A letter from the head of the office, Trump-appointee Henry Kerner, called Conway’s “disregard for the restrictions” of the Hatch Act “unacceptable.”
“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,” Kerner wrote to Trump. “Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law.”
Although the agency has previously cited officials for violating the Hatch Act, this marks the first time the counsel has recommended a White House official be removed from office, Politico reported.
While the office can recommend Conway’s ouster, only Trump has the power to remove her.
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Kerner said he has “no animus” toward Conway, and that he defers to Trump.
“We respect his decision and, of course, the president has any option he’d like–to reprimand or not to reprimand,” Kerner said. “It is up to the president’s discretion and we respect that.”
–How Conway violated the Hatch Act, according to the office
According the report, Conway violated the Hatch Act during media appearances and while using her Twitter account in an official capacity to engage in partisan attacks against several Democrats, shortly after they announced their bids for president.
The report highlights Conway’s interviews in which she called New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker “sexist” and a “tinny” “motivational speaker,” suggested Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was “lying” about her ethnicity, and said former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not “think the women running against him are good enough to be president.”
Conway also attacked former Vice President Joe Biden in interviews and over Twitter, calling him “Creepy Uncle Joe” and describing his announcement video as “dark and spooky,” while advocating for Trump, tweeting, “#2020I’mWithHim.”
“After investigating these allegations, OSC has determined that Ms. Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act,” the report states. “Notably, this is not the first time that OSC has concluded that Ms. Conway broke the law.”
The Trump aide was well aware of her behavior, the report says, pointing to an interview in March with The Hill in which reporters questioned her previous violations of the Hatch Act.
“Blah, blah, blah,” Conway reportedly said. “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work. Let me know when the jail sentence starts.”