Sen. Tom Carper, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the Office of Special Counsel requesting a review of another potential violation of the Hatch Act by an official in the Donald Trump administration.
This time, the request pertains to several recent on-air statements made by Kellyanne Conway, assistant to the president and senior counselor, regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy.
Over the past two weeks, Conway has repeatedly commented on Biden’s candidacy for president in her official capacity as a senior counselor to President Donald Trump. As a White House official, Conway, under the Hatch Act, is prohibited from using her official position to attempt to influence the outcome of a political election and also from using government resources to make such statements. During two of these recent interviews discussing electoral politics, Conway was on the White House grounds.
Carper has requested multiple reviews of potential Hatch Act violations by the Trump administration, and said the latest incidents, “demonstrate a troubling lack of concern with Hatch Act compliance on the part of the Trump Administration; instead, senior government officials appear free to use their office to influence political elections regardless of the law.”
After a request from Carper, OSC found that Stephanie Grisham, deputy assistant to the president and director of communications for first lady Melania Trump, violated the Hatch Act after Grisham shared a picture of Trump’s campaign rally including a hashtag of the acronym “MAGA,” which stands for “Make America Great Again.” Following another request from Carper, OSC found that White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr. had violated the Hatch Act in 2017 by using his official position to oppose the election of Representative Justin Amash. Grisham and Scavino were advised that future political activity through their official positions would be considered a “willful and knowing violation of the law.”
Carper also wrote to OSC regarding a similar violation involving Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner. Since Carper’s initial request April 2017, the OSC has also concluded that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Conway have also violated the Hatch Act. OSC referred Conway’s actions to Trump for “appropriate disciplinary action.”
Text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2UZR91L.