CLC Complaint: Kellyanne Conway Should Be Removed or Suspended For Repeated Ethics Violations

Dec 7, 2017
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WASHINGTON – Today, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is urging that Kellyanne Conway be removed from office or given a lengthy suspension without pay for willfully and repeatedly disregarding ethics requirements.

Yesterday, Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN’s New Day and, after being introduced with her official title and while standing in front of the White House, spent fifteen minutes defending U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and advocating against the election of his opponent, Doug Jones. As CLC outlines in its complaint to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), her actions violate the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch officials from using their positions to influence elections. Moreover, Conway appeared to acknowledge Hatch Act concerns during the interview, but she then dismissed and even went so far as to mock efforts to hold her accountable for violations of basic ethical requirements.

Conway similarly violated the Hatch Act less than a month ago during an appearance on Fox & Friends. CLC filed a complaint with OSC based on that violation.

“The willfulness of Conway’s violation and her openly expressed disdain for efforts to hold her accountable for complying with ethics requirements make clear that anything less than removal from the federal service or a lengthy unpaid suspension will not deter future misconduct on her part,” said Walter Shaub, senior director, ethics at CLC, and the former director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). “Lower-level federal employees have incurred severe penalties for less serious Hatch Act violations, and OSC should not have one standard for the federal workforce generally and a lower standard for those who are close to this President.”

CLC’s complaint notes multiple examples of executive branch employees suffering serious repercussions for Hatch Act violations.

  • Earlier this year, OSC sought removal of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee for repeated Hatch Act violations.
  • In 2015, OSC secured a 112-day suspension for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee who engaged in partisan political activity in the workplace and solicited political contributions.
  • In 2014, OSC secured the resignation of a Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney who had posted partisan political tweets and participated in an online media interview from an FEC facility where she criticized the Republican Party and its presidential candidate.
  • Also in 2014, OSC levied a 100-day unpaid suspension against an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee who urged callers to to reelect President Obama over an IRS help line.
  • OSC also secured a 14-day suspension of an IRS employee who criticized Republicans in her conversations with a taxpayer.

 

Read Walter Shaub’s November 27 op ed in the Washington Post discussing Ms. Conway’s violation of the Hatch Act and OSC’s responsibility to hold her accountable. 

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