Watchdog Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway

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Posted: Oct 23, 2018 11:50 PM
Watchdog Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonprofit watchdog group, on Tuesday filed an ethics complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. According to a letter CREW submitted to the Office of Special Council, the group believes Conway violated the Hatch Act.

About the Hatch Act:

The Hatch Act restricts federal employee participation in certain partisan political activities.  The political activity restrictions apply during the entire time of an employee’s federal service.  Certain rules prohibit both on-duty and off-duty conduct.

Partisan political activities are those activities directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.  While most Federal employees are permitted to take an active part in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns, the Hatch Act does prohibit certain participation by all Federal employees.  Federal employees may not seek public office in partisan elections, use their official title or authority when engaging in political activity, solicit or receive contributions for partisan political candidates or groups, and engage in political activity while on duty. 

CREW believes Conway violated the Hatch Act by participating in media interviews in an official capacity and using the airtime to share her own personal views of political candidates. The watchdog group also believes Conway's tweets that promote the Republican Party and President Trump during the midterm election cycle also violate the Hatch Act.

The letter also includes screenshots of news articles and tweets featuring Conway's interviews even retweets from her account.

In the letter, CREW requested the OSC to conduct an investigation into the allegations.

“It is far past due for the Office of Special Counsel to consider additional measures to prevent the Trump Administration’s ongoing abuse of government resources for partisan political activity,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “Never before have we seen such a pattern of continuous disregard for our laws and regulations that separate official government business from partisan campaigning. Enough is enough. The American public should never have to worry that taxpayer-funded resources and positions are being used to advance a partisan political agenda, and yet administration officials continue to illegally use their government positions for partisan politics."

Federal employees who are found in violation of the Hatch Act are "subject to a range of disciplinary actions, including removal from federal service, reduction in grade, debarment from federal service for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, letter of reprimand, or a civil penalty not to exceed $1000."

CREW has filed similar investigation requests for Hatch Act violations against the Trump administration, The Hill reported. The group filed a Hatch violation request against Conway back in March and she was found guilty. It remains unclear what punishment, if any, she will receive for the violations.