Is Jared Kushner the Office of Special Counsel's Next Target?

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Posted: Jun 17, 2019 1:27 PM
Is Jared Kushner the Office of Special Counsel's Next Target?

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The Office of Special Counsel's attempt to get White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway fired went nowhere. They claimed that Conway had violated the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic candidates on TV on multiple occasions. When President Trump saw the request to remove Conway from federal service, he said from where he was sitting it looked like the OSC was just trying to take away her freedom of speech.

"I’m not gonna fire her," he responded. "I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokesperson."

So, why do Democrats think they'll get anywhere by trying to get Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner booted out on the same charges? Your guess is as good as mine. Yet, Reps. Don Beyer (VA) and Ted Lieu (CA) are leading the mission to at least get the OSC to investigate him. They note that Kushner has been meeting with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at the White House - meetings that Beyer and Lieu called "prohibited campaign fundraising activities" in a letter to the OSC.

As you know, under the Hatch Act, federal employees are prohibited form fundraising for political candidates. Alarmingly, recent media reports indicate that Mr. Kushner is nonetheless taking a direct role in raising funds for the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump. Last month, Yahoo News reported that Kushner “has multiple daily conversations with [Trump Campaign Manager Brad] Parscale” from the West Wing. The New York Times subsequently reported on a meeting organized by Kushner at the White House to “discuss the fund-raising strategy for 2020” featuring Parscale, Repubican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and “a group of big donors.” The same report revealed that “allies” of Kushner say he is seeking “control of the fund-raising.”

The reports strongly suggest that Kushner is violating the Hatch Act’s prohibitions against any Executive agency employees “knowingly solicit[ing], accept[ing], or receiv[ing] a political contribution from any person.” As your office noted yesterday in its statement recommending the removal of Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway from federal service, “Although the President and Vice President are exempt from the Hatch Act, employees of the White House are not.”

The Democrats add, for good measure, that "Kushner’s poor track record of compliance with the spirit of the Hatch Act," given his discussion of campaign matters during his official duties.

Should the OSC accuse Kushner of wrongdoing and request his dismissal, I think we all know what Trump is going to do with that request too.