Kellyanne Conway will have a hard time conning her way out of this one.
On Thursday, the Office of the Special Counsel publicly called for Donald Trump’s favorite spin woman to be fired, charging that Conway has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates and others in her official capacity as an employee of the executive branch. The Hatch Act forbids White House employees — except the president and vice president — from engaging in campaign politics.
“If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her federal position by the Merit Systems Protections Board,” the Office of the Special Counsel (Henry Kerner, not Robert Mueller, who stepped down last month) wrote to President Trump.
“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” the letter continues. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
Conway apparently responded to the special counsel’s accusations in May by dismissing them.
“Blah, blah, blah,” Conway reportedly told the OSC. “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.”
The OSC’s 18-page report to Trump said that Conway, who was Trump’s campaign chair in 2016, should be removed from her post as counselor to the president for both a slew of TV interviews in 2019 as well as her public attacks on Democrats through her Twitter account.
“For example, in one interview, Ms. Conway insinuated that Senator Booker was ‘sexist’ and a ‘tinny’ ‘motivational speaker,” reads the report. “In another, Ms. Conway said Senator Warren was ‘lying’ about her ethnicity and “appropriating somebody else’s heritage.’ After Mr. O’Rourke announced his candidacy, Ms. Conway attacked him for not ‘think[ing] the women running are good enough to be President.’”
But Trump, who’s no fan of the special counsel, doesn’t seem too eager to fire Conway. A White House spokesman, meanwhile, called the special counsel’s charges “unprecedented” and likened the charges levied against Conway as a violation of her Constitutional rights.
In an 11-page letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone demanded that the OSC withdraw its recommendation to fire Conway, saying it had "grave" factual errors.
The OSC wasn't swayed, however. “OSC respects the White House Counsel’s office but respectfully disagrees with their position, and will not withdraw the report,” OSC spokesman Zac Kurz said in a statement.
Cover: White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks during an opioid round table at the White House in Washington, D.C., USA, 12 June 2019. (Credit: Zach Gibson / Pool via CNP)