(WASHINGTON) — A federal watchdog agency recommended on Thursday that White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway be “removed from service” citing repeated violations on a law that bans federal employees from political activity.
The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that investigates wrongdoing by government employees, found that Conway “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.” The report cites comments Conway made during the Alabama Senate special election in December 2017.
A spokesman for the office said it’s the first time the office has recommended the removal of a White House official.
The office sent a report to President Donald Trump on Thursday recommending Conway be removed from her position because she has “shown disregard” for the law that prohibits federal government employees from engaging in political activities.
White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves said in a statement that the OSC’s actions are “deeply flawed.”
“The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process. Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees. Its decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations – and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, non-political manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act,” Groves said.
In an interview on May 29, Conway reportedly downplayed the law, according to Thursday’s OSC press release, saying she wouldn’t stop making political statements.
“If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” and “Let me know when the jail sentence starts,” she said, according to the OSC press release.
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