Investigators inside the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), in an ethics probe into the unlawful use of government positions to endorse or promote political or parties or activities, have found that Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway is guilty of multiple violations of the Hatch Act, a law intended to stop such abuses.
Conway’s first ethics violation appears to have been when she told Fox News viewers during a live on-air appearance on Fox and Friends to purchase products made by the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. The First Daughter, also wife to one of Trump’s other senior advisers, Jared Kushner, has lines of clothing, shoes, and accessories that she has come under fire for promoting during foreign trips ostensibly held in an official capacity as well, although no such decision has been made against Ivanka.
Then in another Fox and Friends appearance, Conway, used her platform to denigrate Doug Jones, a Democratic candidate for Senate, in his upcoming race — as clear a violation of the Hatch Act as there has ever been.
The next instance of Kellyanne’s violations was during an appearance on Chris Cuomo’s CNN program New Day, when she urged viewers to vote for ultimately failed candidate for Alabama Senator Roy Moore, Jones’ opponent, despite his clear history of sexual abuse of minors — although his crimes had nothing to do with Conway’s.
In both of the latter instances, Conway had been introduced at the top of each segment in her official capacity as senior adviser to the President, making everything that followed from her an “official statement made by the White House,” and therefore subject to the law prohibiting her from endorsing the disgraced former politician or making disparaging remarks about the Democratic candidate.
From the OSC’s report:
“While the Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, it restricts employees from using their official government positions for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections. Ms. Conway’s statements during the ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘New Day’ interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.”
This White House has never shied away from breaking the rules regarding what is permissible in public office; Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino has come under fire for violations of this same statute, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was even forced to delete a social media post in which he was depicted wearing “MAGA” socks — an oversight he excused himself from by saying he didn’t realize it had “what could be viewed as a political slogan.”
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