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Federal watchdog recommends Kellyanne Conway be fired for Hatch Act violations

A federal watchdog agency on Thursday called for the firing of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for repeated violations of a law aimed at keeping federal officials from using their offices to advocate for political candidates.

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In a letter sent Thursday to President Donald Trump, officials with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel detailed several instances in which Conway attacked Trump’s Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race on social media and in official interviews as White House counselor to the president.

Explore>> Conway accused of Hatch Act violation; what is the Hatch Act?

“As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” special counsel Henry Kerner said Thursday in a letter sent to Trump. “Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – our rule of law.”

 

Speaking with reporters in the White House press office, Conway said she had "no reaction" to the report, according to The Associated Press.

In a statement released Thursday, deputy White House press secretary Steve Groves called the Office of Special Counsel’s recommendation “deeply flawed.”

“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, nonpolitical manner and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act,” Groves said.

The Office of Special Counsel noted that, during a May 29 media interview, Conway minimized the significance of the law as applied to her.

The office stated that, when asked about the Hatch Act, she replied, "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."

Career government officials found to have violated the Hatch Act can be fired, suspended or demoted and fined up to $1,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.