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Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, watchdog says

08 March 2018

Ethics experts say those findings, along with a previous ethics violation, warrant Conway's firing.

"We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again", Passantino wrote.

Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump's top advisers, violated federal law in two television interviews a year ago by using her White House position to weigh in on a political race, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said on Tuesday.

In Conway's case, the OSC found that "she impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election", according to a statement addressed to President Trump that Kerner released Tuesday.

The TV appearances in question are a November 20 appearance on Fox & Friends in which Conway spoke out against Doug Jones, the Democratic opponent of accused child molester Moore, and a December 6 appearance on New Day when she did the same. In the first instance, on November 20, Conway appeared in her official capacity on Fox News' "Fox & Friends". "Folks, don't be fooled".

Conway dodged the more direct question about an endorsement, saying only that 'we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through'. Weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. "He's awful for property owners", she said.

"So, vote Roy Moore?". Al Franken (D-MN), who stepped down in January over allegations of sexual misconduct.

It also referred to a December 6, 2017, interview on CNN's "New Day" in which Conway, appearing again "in her official capacity", talked about why Alabama voters "should support Republican Roy Moore and not Democrat Doug Jones" in the special election.

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But, what exactly is the Hatch Act?

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said President Donald Trump should take "swift and serious disciplinary action" against Conway.

But in a statement, the White House defended Conway's comments.

On both occasions, the OSC says Conway strayed from official White House communications briefings and talking points to comment directly on both Roy Moore and Doug Jones.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley denied Conway did anything wrong, despite her own words in the Fox interview. The White House, however, does not agree with the conclusions of the report.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the office last week pointing to what appeared to be a Hatch Act violation involving Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. "That's just flat-out wrong". Trump, the president's daughter, is a presidential aide.

Walter Shaub, the then-head of the Office of Government Ethics, criticized the president's decision at that time not to discipline Conway.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, watchdog says