With the House Oversight Committee threatening to subpoena President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway if she doesn’t appear at a hearing on her violations of the Hatch Act, Conway said Monday that the White House isn’t sure that the law — which prohibits executive branch employees from engaging in political activities — applies in her case.
“It would be good if everybody had a quick tutorial on the Hatch Act, what it is and what it is not,” Conway said on “Fox Friends.” “It’s not even clear to us here at the White House counsel that the Hatch Act applies to assistants to the president.”
The 1939 Hatch Act was enacted to restrict government officials in the executive branch of the federal government — except the president, vice president and designated high-ranking employees — from engaging in campaign-related activities in their official capacities.
In a Sunday letter, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said his panel would hold a vote to authorize a subpoena for Conway if she doesn’t testify at a planned hearing on Wednesday.
The hearing was scheduled after the Office of Special Counsel, a U.S. government watchdog agency, recommended Conway be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates during television appearances and on social media. (Conway was also accused of flaunting ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand at the White House in 2017.)
Henry Kerner, the Trump-appointed chief of the White House’s Office of Special Counsel, will defend his call for the president to fire Conway at Wednesday’s hearing.
Trump has already dismissed the recommendation, saying he believes Conway deserves the right to free speech.
Conway also accused the Democrat-led panel of trying to “silence” her for her role in helping Trump win the presidency.
“They want to put a big roll of masking tape over my mouth,” she said on “Fox Friends.”
“If I’m talking about the failures of Obama-Biden care, or if I’m talking about the fact that 28 million Americans have no health insurance, that’s a fact,” Conway said. “If I’m quoting what some of the candidates are saying about the other candidates, I’m just repeating the news to you as I read it that day.”
THREAD: White House Counsel’s strong and intelligent response to OSC’s “report” on the Hatch Act provides important facts, details legal arguments that many must have missed, choose to ignore, or have difficulty digesting. A useful primer.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) June 24, 2019
Speaking to reporters in the White House driveway in May, Conway scoffed at the Office of Special Counsel’s findings.
“Blah, blah, blah,” she said as one reporter recounted her violations. “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work.
“Let me know when the jail sentence starts,” she added.
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