UPDATE: Conway reacted to Rep. Cummings's threat to hold her in contempt during a Fox News interview on Tuesday.
"This is the latest example of harassment and embarrassment," she said.
She has every right to not show up to the House Oversight hearings because as a White House senior adviser she has the right to immunity. But, she's "happy to testify" because she's "done nothing wrong."
"This about me going on TV and stating facts," she insisted, referring to her statements about 2020 presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. They are old, white career politicians, she noted.
Part Two of the House Oversight and Reform Committee's "Violations of the Hatch Act Under the Trump Administration" convened on Monday, and once again the star witness did not show. The White House told Chairman Elijah Cummings once before - and again just 25 minutes before Monday's meeting - that Counselor Kellyanne Conway had no obligation to attend their little charade.
Cummings responded with a threat. He said Conway must show up to testify, or they will vote to hold her in contempt during a "business meeting" on July 25.
"She has repeatedly and flagrantly" abused her office, Cummings alleged.
Conway is accused of violating the Hatch Act on a few different occasions. Once, when she appeared to weigh in on the 2017 Alabama special election. Another when she criticized the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. The Office of Special Counsel charged her not only with a violation, but for mocking the rules as well.
"Let me know when the jail sentence starts," she glibly told the OSC in May.
In a formal letter in June, they told President Trump to fire her. Trump defended Conway and said he has no plans to let her go.
Cummings added on Monday that the White House has made things worse by "minimizing" the seriousness of the situation, and making it into "a light, offhand manner." Trump, the chairman said, is "sending a false message to other federal employees that they need not comply to the Hatch Act."
Cummings suggested they were not asking much of Conway. They are not requiring her to share any specific advice she gave the president. They just want her "to testify about her violations of federal law." But, according to him, they've given her enough chances.
Then Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) had his chance to speak. And he quickly made his point.
"This meeting is merely politics," Jordan said. "They targeted her because she’s effective."
?? #ICYMI: Watch @Jim_Jordan's opening statement from today's full committee hearing examining the Hatch Act.— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) July 15, 2019
It's no surprise that Ms. Conway decided to spend her afternoon doing her job on behalf of taxpayers rather than subjecting herself to classic D.C. political theater. pic.twitter.com/0AGjyAcQkI
What's more, the OSC only gave Conway and the White House 16 hours to respond. Jordan repeated Conway’s supposed Hatch Act violations. For instance, noting that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are "two old, white career politicians," or that Sen. Elizabeth Warren was "lying about her ethnicity."
They are her honest opinions and she has “every right” to share them, Jordan said.
"I don’t think anyone’s surprised that Kellyanne decided to skip today’s hearing and do her job," he said in closing.
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