In response to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s public endorsement of accused pedophile Roy Moore, former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Walter Shaub Jr. has filed a formal complaint accusing Conway of violating the Hatch Act. Although Conway clearly abused her position by condemning Moore’s opponent on Fox News, only the president has the power to impose any punishment against his official mouthpiece.
During an interview last week with “Fox & Friends,” Conway appeared on the White House lawn and stated, “Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.”
Conway added, “I just want everybody to know, Doug Jones, nobody ever says his name, and pretends he is some kind of conservative Democrat in Alabama. And he’s not.”
According to the Hatch Act, employees of the executive branch, excluding the president and vice president, are prohibited from engaging in certain forms of political activity, including endorsing partisan candidates for the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, Shaub took to Twitter and wrote, “I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate. This is at least as clear a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1)…”
On Wednesday, Shaub tweeted, “I have filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations.”
In response, White House spokesman Raj Shah falsely stated, “Ms. Conway did not advocate for or against the election of a candidate, and specifically declined to encourage Alabamans to vote a certain way. She was speaking about issues and her support for the President’s agenda. This election is for the people of Alabama to decide.”
On Thursday, Shaub sarcastically replied, “We should doubt our lying ears that heard Conway advocate against Doug Jones’ Senate bid? The White House assures us she was merely championing the President’s policy position. In a way, that makes sense if you count the President’s Doug-Jones-Should-Not-Be-A-Senator policy.”
Shaub resigned as OGE Director in July after repeatedly clashing with President Donald Trump and his administration’s failure to comply with basic ethics rules. Earlier this year, Shaub chastised the Trump administration for failing to reprimand Conway after she encouraged people to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line and other products during an interview with NBC News in February. Instead of punishing Conway for blatantly using her position to market cosmetic products sold by the president’s affluent daughter, the White House falsely told Shaub that the current Counselor to the U.S. President would no longer violate any federal laws on television again.
In his request for a Special Counsel investigation, Shaub wrote, “Ms. Conway’s remarks were an obvious attempt to influence the election by convincing the public that voting for Roy Moore would jeopardize passage of the tax plan the President endorsed. The unmistakable message of her remarks was: Don’t vote for Doug Jones.”
Last month, the Office of Special Counsel found that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley violated the Hatch Act after retweeting President Trump’s endorsement of South Carolina congressional candidate Ralph Norman. Haley received no punishment for violating federal law.
Due to the fact that only the president can impose a penalty for violating the Hatch Act, Conway is not expected to be reprimanded or criminally charged for her incessant unethical behavior.
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