Trump Says He’s Not Firing Kellyanne Conway in Wake of Hatch Act Report

June 14, 2019 by Elin Johnson
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON –  President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has no plans to fire Kellyanne Conway after an independent federal agency recommended that she be removed from her job after she repeatedly used her official position for political purposes.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a report to Trump Thursday stating that Conway, a top aide to the president, repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates on social media and in televised interviews while acting in her official capacity.

The organization called for Conway’s removal from the White House based on these grounds. It was the first time the office made such a recommendation for an administration official.

The Hatch Act of 1939 is a federal law that prohibits most executive branch employees from certain political activities. This includes engaging in partisan political activity while they hold their positions.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone responded to the call for Conway’s removal with a letter in which he claims that the OSC report was rife with “multiple fundamental legal and factual errors.”

Cipollone went on to state that by saying the Hatch Act applies to the special counsel of the president, the office violated Conway’s right to due process and First Amendment right to free speech.

Cipollone also said the call on Trump to remove Conway was “as outrageous as it is unprecedented.” He requested the report be retracted.

Thursday’s report notes that while both the president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, their employees are not.

The report cited interviews Conway gave in 2017 ahead of the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate, and an interview on Fox News on May 29, 2019, as times she violated the law.

Conway has served as counsel to the president since 2017. Previously she acted as a senior advisor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is a permanent and independent federal investigative agency based in Washington D.C. It is not associated in any way with Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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