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Federal Watchdog Tells Trump to Fire Kellyanne Conway

Agency says she has violated the Hatch Act repeatedly
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2019 12:31 PM CDT
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks with reporters outside the White House in Washington in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – A federal watchdog recommended Thursday that President Trump immediately fire adviser Kellyanne Conway—but that looks highly unlikely. The watchdog is the Office of the Special Counsel, but this has nothing to do with Robert Mueller. Instead, it's all about the Hatch Act, an 80-year-old government statute that bars federal employees from engaging in politics while on the job, reports the Washington Post. The federal office in charge of compliance with the act says Conway is a "repeat offender" because, for example, she routinely goes on TV and disparages Democratic candidates, per the Hill. “Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions," says the office. "Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”

The office doesn't have the authority to punish Conway, only to recommend how the president should act. Based on a White House statement, the idea that Trump will fire her is a long shot. “The Office of Special Counsel’s unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process," said spokesman Steve Groves. Neither Conway nor Trump immediately commented on the recommendation, but Conway did not seem all that repentant when asked about the Hatch Act in late May, notes Politico. "Blah, blah, blah," she said. "If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work. Let me know when the jail sentence starts." (This isn't the first time the office has called out Conway.)

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