Law & the Courts

Kellyanne Conway Violated Federal Law by Weighing in on Alabama Election

White House aide Kellyanne Conway violated federal law by engaging in political advocacy during a pair of cable-news appearances last year, according to the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel (OSC).

In a report released Tuesday, OSC special counsel Henry Kerner indicated that Conway’s advocacy “for and against candidates” in the Alabama special election constituted a violation of the Hatch Act, which prevents executive-branch employees — save for the president, vice president, and a few other high-ranking officials — from participating in certain political activities.

The violations stem from a pair of appearances, one on CNN’s New Day and another on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, in which Conway disparaged Democratic Alabama senate candidate Doug Jones.

“Folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners,” Conway said of Jones after she was introduced as a “counselor to President Trump.”

The OSC report claims Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election.”

“While the Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, it restricts employees from using their official government positions for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections,” the report reads.

Kerner sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday referring Conway’s case for “consideration of appropriate disciplinary action.”

The OSC report indicates the agency provided Conway an opportunity to respond to the charges but she failed to do so.

Update 1:24 p.m.: The White House disputed the allegations, arguing that Conway “did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate.”