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FACT CHECK: Did Kellyanne Conway Violate the Hatch Act? Lombardi Letter 2018-02-16 07:22:52 Kellyanne Conway ethics committee what is Hatch act Kellyanne Conway Hatch act Kellyanne Conway ethics violation fact check This article will take a look at the comments made by Kellyanne COnway regarding the Alabama senate race and determine if there was a violation of the Hatch Act. Fact Check,News,True,U.S. Politics

FACT CHECK: Did Kellyanne Conway Violate the Hatch Act?

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Kellyanne Conway

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  • Claim: Did Kellyanne Conway violate the Hatch Act?
  • Rating: Yes
  • Claimed By: CNN
  • Fake News/Rumor Reported on: November 2017

White House Counselor Faces Allegations of Wrongdoing

Kellyanne Conway, who was Donald Trump’s campaign manager during his race for the White House, is currently serving in the Trump administration as a counselor. Due to her political role, Conway often appears in the media, answering questions and provide insight on what Trump is doing to make America great again.

There have been a few times that Conway has gotten herself in trouble, due to her words on television. Most recently, her comments about the upcoming senate election in Alabama has gotten her in hot water. It is possible that Conway violated the Hatch Act by commenting on the special election that is set for December 12.


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What Is the Hatch Act?

The Hatch Act is a United States federal law that prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in any form of political activity. The only exception to this rule is the president, vice-president, and a select few high-ranking level officials.

This rule is in place to prevent federal government employees from publicly advocating for or against candidates, including in media interviews, press releases, or social media.

Kellyanne Conway Ethics Violation?

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Kellyanne Conway is part of the Trump administration as a counselor for the president. This means the Hatch Act would apply to Conway, since she is not the president, the vice-president, nor another very high-ranking individual who would be exempt from the legislation.

Conway appeared as a guest on the Fox network to speak about tax reform, President Trump, and the Alabama senate race.

Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway

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During the interview, Conway said about the Democratic candidate, “And Doug Jones in Alabama? 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. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.” (Source: “‘So vote Roy Moore?’: ‘Fox & Friends’ flusters Kellyanne Conway,” The Washington Post, November 20, 2017.)

This is where the red flags began, in regards to the Hatch Act. Conway was working for votes by putting down the Democratic candidate and trying to convince voters that the Republican candidate is superior.

Moore and Jones are running for the senate seat in Alabama that was once occupied by Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat in order to join the Trump administration. Jones seems to be gaining the trust of voters because, during campaign, Moore has been facing allegations of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault), some of which date back to 40 years. (Source: “United States Senate special election in Alabama, 2017,” Ballotpedia, last accessed November 23, 2017.)

Conway’s comments about the special election during her interview with Fox do seem to violate the ethics rules in the Hatch Act.

Why Did this All Start?

In order for this to have become an issue, a formal complaint had to be filed against Conway. Otherwise, the matter could have been pushed under the rug. A complaint was filed by Walter Shaub, a former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics. Shaub had worked in that role during Barack Obama’s time in the White House. (Source: “‘Former ethics director: Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act with Roy Moore comments,” CNN, November 23, 2017.)

Who Enforces the Rules of the Hatch Act?

When a complaint is filed regarding the Hatch Act, it is is handled by the Office of Special Counsel. In this situation, the allegations will be investigated to determine whether any rules were broken. In the end, the investigation will result in either a settlement or a prosecution. If the case moves forward, it will be adjudicated by the United States Merit Systems Protection Board.

What Are the Consequences?

If a Conway is found to have violated the Hatch Act,  she will face disciplinary action. The possible consequences for violating the legislation are a suspension, a fine, duty restrictions, or—in extreme cases—termination of full duties. Of course, another possibility is that the case is thrown out and everything stays status quo. After the investigation about Conway’s comments is over, the speculation can began about how she will be treated.

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