Kellyanne Conway Hit With Hatch Act Complaint Over Moore Comments

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 10.09.44 PM.pngWe previously discussed the violation of federal rules by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in the endorsement of a commercial product.  Now an even more serious allegation has been raised in a complaint filed by Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics.  Shaub charges that Conway violated the ban on federal employees using their positions for political purposes and the allegation is not without merit.  Conway has possible defenses but the statements on Fox against the election of Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Dough Jones used poor judgment.  When reviewed in the context of past cases, the complaint raises credible claims.  For full disclosure, Conway is one of my former students at George Washington University Law School (she graduated in 1995).

It is hard to watch Conway’s appearance on Fox and Friends and not conclude that she is interjecting herself into the political campaign on the side of Roy Moore — or at least against Democrat Doug Jones.

 

 

The hosts respond to the obvious pitch with the question: “so vote Roy Moore?”  Conway does not answer but continue to object to those considering Jones while emphasizing the need for Moore’s election as a Republican vote.

Here is how the Special Counsel site answers a question on expressing political opinions as a federal employee:

May federal employees express their views about current events, policy issues, and matters of public interest at work or on duty?

Generally, all federal employees may discuss current events, policy issues, and matters of public interest at work or on duty. The Hatch Act does not prohibit employees at any time, including when they are at work or on duty, from expressing their personal opinions about events, issues, or matters, such as healthcare reform, gun control, abortion, immigration, federal hiring freeze, etc.  For example, while at work employees may express their views about healthcare reform, e.g., “I agree with healthcare reform.”

However, the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees at work or on duty from engaging in political activity. Political activity is activity that is directed at the success or failure of a political party, partisan political group, or candidate for partisan political office.  Thus, employees may not express their personal opinions on such events, issues, and matters if such views also are political activity.  For example, while at work employees may not express their views about healthcare reform tied to a candidate for partisan political office, e.g., “If you disagree with healthcare reform you should support candidate X.”   

Finally, even when federal employees are expressing personal opinions that are permissible under the Hatch Act they should be mindful of how such views may be received by their coworkers and whether such comments are consistent with the Hatch Act’s underlying purpose of maintaining a politically neutral workplace.

Of course, Conway was not just speaking “at work or on duty” but on a national television interview concerning a political race in Alabama — and whether people should vote for one candidate.  Conway is clearly trying to influence the election when she states “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.”  In denouncing Jones a s a “doctrinaire liberal” in front of the White House, Conway emphasizes that “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway said, calling Jones a “doctrinaire liberal.”

Formally entitled an Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, the Hatch Act passed in 1939 “prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election.”

Conway could insist that she was addressing the status of the President’s agenda in Congress, particularly the upcoming tax vote.  She is allowed to comment on the political status of the Senate and the impact of such changes.

Shaub complaint under 5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1) relies on the prior case involving former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro in the Obama Administration.  Castro was found to have violated the Hatch Act. Notably, unlike Conway, Castro stressed that he was speaking as an individual and not a public figure when he was asked about the presidential election by Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric, even though he stressed that he was answering her political questions in his personal capacity:

“Now, taking off my HUD hat for a second and just speaking individually, it is very clear that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced, thoughtful, and prepared candidate for President that we have this year.”

He then answered a question about his concerns with a Trump election and the low likelihood of his continuing in his position:

 

“What I am interested in, though, is trying to do a great job here at HUD and serving the people that we do serve, folks that are of modest means but who deserve our attention and our efforts. And so I don’t believe that is going to happen, but I am supportive of Secretary Clinton and I believe she is going to make a great president.”

 

Julián_Castro's_Official_HUD_PortraitThe similarities are quite striking.  If anything, Castro was more restrained, but in a letter to President Barack Obama, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner stated

“OSC concluded that Secretary Castro violated the Hatch Act by advocating for and against Presidential candidates.  Secretary Castro’s statements during the interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity.”

 

Similarly, in 2012, OSC found then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the law when she gave a speech to a gay rights organization that included an aside comment favoring Obama’s re-election.

Under 5 U.S.C.S. § 1505, the  Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) has plenary jurisdiction to order the removal of an official for a violation.  However, it may consider the nature of the offense; the official’s motive and intent; and other elements.

It is unlikely that such a removal would occur in this case, but the controversy is another embarrassment for the Trump White House and specifically White House Counsel Don McGahn.

140 thoughts on “Kellyanne Conway Hit With Hatch Act Complaint Over Moore Comments

  1. The importance of the Hatch Act? Kelly Anne got a promotion to head her own government sub agency!

    The importance of claiming ‘racial slur?’ Pork A Haunt Us Warren was outed as a racial slur for stealing jobs from minorities. Claiming she will not be shut up by this I agree. That would take a rather large Idaho potato.Why is she ‘running’ for President? To hold the slot open until the California Senator can get more experience lest the party forget there is a slot. What’s her name something Harris hired a publicity agency some months ago and along with Poke A Haunt Us spent the big vacation time of late Summer going everywhere but their home districts,……reportedly.

    For fans of accuracy the Hatch Act was finally fully explained and has, as it turns out, little to do with a great number of people but a lot to do with the search for who covered up what and why, who sent what to whom and other similiar questions. Right now the FBI can be counted as potential violaters ‘as a group. with the current crop of speciao investigators as accessorries.

    Another score one for the chief… as a nation we are no longer in the UN Immigrants Organization.

    I am wondering when the Postal and other employees of the government are going to be Hatch -et Acted for their blatant violations along with the embedded appointed employees of goverenment who could be useful as part of government down sizing? After all if they can lay off 30% and call it a shut down what other useful purpose do they serve and think of a 30% reduction in the personnel budget Also it would put people into the employment seeking market which is getting far too low to support the infrastucture rebuild effort.

    Presuming they have any real job skills.

    What will we see from Kelly Anne as Drug Czar. Hopefully not using that fascist style name and make it a useful productive part of government… or dismantle it. So far… has it done anything positive?

  2. Speaking of Hatch Act and mixing politics with something else this just breaking news

    Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi pull out of a White House budget meeting after President Trump questioned whether they could reach a deal.

    Obvious answer is: They wouldn’t hold up their end of the bargain anyway and bring absolutely nothing to the conversation so…. why bother?

    Well …have they done anything else in he last year?

    No.

    • I guess if she would’ve taken off her HUD hat (like Castro) or whatever hat she was wearing, there would be no violation discussion. As a law school teacher, I am sure you are aware of the case law that holds ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating said law . . .unless you have a law degree. As Eric Holder said you are allowed to be stupid if you have Esq. after your name.

  3. Diane, you don’t know what you are talking about. You are learning and altering your ideas while commenting and making too many mistakes.

    I commented to Oliver, not George. I choose when and where I reply. Had Oliver not entered the picture I might have told George that the remedies were not criminal, but there was no need until the error was repeated.

    Right now you are picking and choosing words and ideas from all the replies that were made because you really don’t know what you are talking about.

  4. “a politically neutral workplace.” Where, exactly, does that exist in the US government today? The IRS office, where Lois Lerner clearly advocated for one presidential candidate over another when she targeted conservatives? The FBI, where James Comey wrote his letter exonerating Hillary Clinton months before the investigation concluded? What about the National Parks System, where I continue to get letters claiming that I need to give more money because of the election? The Supreme Court, where Justices give politically biased interviews? Or perhaps, the EPA, where a judge had to order them to stop discriminating against conservatives? (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/2/judge-rules-epa-lied-about-transparency/) This is hardly surprising. Liberal bias is a requirement to succeed as an academic, with studies proving discrimination against employment and publishing of conservatives. If the EPA is staffed by products of that environment, one can hardly expect a politically neutral workplace.

    The law should be applied equally. As long as Hillary Clinton got away with the Uranium One deal, receiving double the speaking fees for Bill as normal and a $145 million donation to her foundation while clearing the way for a rival foreign government to obtain 1/5 of our nation’s uranium, a key component for making nuclear weapons, used multiple private servers which she kept in a bathroom, accessible to every maid, cable guy, and party guest, backed it up to the Cloud, lied about it, and then directed her staff to take hammers to their iPhones, Blackberries, laptops, and other electronics in order to destroy evidence, then I will never believe that we have a just law in the US.

    The double standard is breathtaking. Almost as shocking as Hollywood giving a standing ovation to convicted pedophile rapist Roman Polanski, and then suddenly finding its conscience only after the election, when Hillary was blamed for putting the GOP in the White House. Suddenly, they believe Bill’s accusers, the same women they vilified and mocked for years. When it is politically expedient, they get out their moral pedestal. Harvey Weinstein was the worst kept secret for decades. The “casting couch” was a well known cliche. They had no problem with this. Now, they all act shocked as if they just discovered the seedy underbelly of show business, when they applauded a convicted pedophile, en masse, on television. They have zero credibility.

    When everyone who politicized the workplace at the FBI, EPA, DOJ, IRS, NPS, and the rest of the alphabet soup get charged and convicted, equally, and with Hillary Clinton, then we can include Kellyanne Conway. Otherwise, this looks like the law is merely a political tool.

    As for the Hatch Act, I can see why it would apply to federal workplaces in general, and of course the Secretary of HUD and other departments were neutrality is vital, but how can a counselor to the President remain politically neutral? Her job is to promote her President’s agenda, which would be political by nature. In order to pass his tax bill, he needs the votes, and the race in question was pertinent to that.

    Perhaps I just misunderstand this point. But I would think that some federal employee staff positions are political in nature, and the Hatch Act could not apply without interfering with the discharge of their duties. If I am wrong, then please help me understand this point. I will say that Ms Conway has a target on her back, and should probably run all possible questions through Legal before going on camera moving forward.

    • If you take the perspective that politics to the hard left is a religion it begins to make sense as to why they behave as they do.

      • If you take the perspective that politics to the hard left is a religion it begins to make sense as to why they behave as they do.

        I’m not so sure the politics of the hard Left rise to the same standard of scrutiny that most of the world’s great religions require. Given what has been exposed about the Church of Scientology, that religion would be the closest faith-based religion to that of the hard left.

      • Lenin himself backs you up on that point. When Mussolini (then the head of the Italian Socialist Party) asked Lenin how do I explain or teachy Marxist Economics when I don’t undersand it myself Lenin told him do not ‘teach it’ but preach it. That particular foreign ideology as we’ve seen in our own country has an active secularology version of a theololgy where Lenin replaces God and people like Soros, St. James of Carville and Pocahauntus become the disciples with Pelosillyni and Schumer cover the gender basis for the role of Jesus.

        In any case Benito went on to leave the church of International Socialism and help found the church of National Socialism as it’s first offshoot cult courtesy of the Prophet Adolf. But it wasn’t the first as the Fabian Society influenced the birth of the Progressive Socialists with Keynes as their own version of a 700 club and none other than President Woodrow Wilson as their new disciple.

        The terms which began with progressives when Wilson imported them to his University as Professors were interchangeable with lilberal, socialisat, even Darwinists and they quickly adopted the term ‘conservative’ to label all their enemies.

        One only has to read one book, their hand book for agent activists entitled “Don’t See The Elephant’ by a Berkeley Professor nickname Yoda one George Lakoff to see all I just wrote and see how the gullible are treated by Lakoff as complete fools and idiots.

        There is a section however that details how the Money as Free Speech crap got started and it’s 200 year plus twisted journey got the idea accepted and then made into law.

        Lakoff himself is a world class plagiarist as the whole thing is garden variety Plato-nics supporting that which even Plato refuted and is the opposite of Aristotelian thought. To put it in simple turns the use of other world mysticism and subjective theory.

        Lakoff backed up by Soros holds a chair in cognition and in the end uses it to make ‘thinking’ and anti cognitive activity.

        $9.99 on Kindle in the Kook section.

    • Yes, ‘Ms Conway’ does have a ‘target on her back.’ It’s called an antagonistic, disingenuous, progressive party. Since when did Obama respect the Hatch Act? Did he not, in fact, attempt & at times, succeed in circumventing this act? Moreover, did Obama not routinely engage in self-serving subterfuge & duplicitous political activity? Did Clinton not sign off on transferring, with Obama’s signature, 20% of U.S. uranium to Putin? Did Obama not knowingly remain quiet about rigging the democratic primary? Do progressives not continue to obstruct the truth, deceive the public & prioritize themselves over their constituents?

  5. Kellyanne has not been held accountable for any of her behavior–her incessant lying, when a camera is stuck in her face, she uses it as an opportunity for campaigning, instead of answering a reporter’s questions. Now this. Kellyanne has no credibility.

    • Hurts doesn’t it when someone out Pravdas the Goebbelists of the USSR? Why would a left wing socialst regressive be opposed to lying or worry about credibility. It describes The Party, The Collective and yourself in very accurate terms plus you have no patent or copyright on such. Now don’t go screaming ad hominem that doesn’t apply to machines and we will probably never known who programmed the tool part dubbed ….Ladoltchka.

  6. Jill, re: ” Unethical, uncaring citizens think nothing of getting what they want at the expense of others. How’s that working out for the US (and the rest of the world) as a whole?”

    It’s not – but many are still in denial – so many people still miss Obama despite his record – as long as people are stuck in the R vs D camps ain’t nuthin gonna change.

      • SUch a simplisticly Simonized statement and so easy to make you eat crow. Start with 1900 Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK (except he was a fiscal conservative) LBJ, Carter, Clinton and Obama. What do they all have in common.

        Why they started all but four or five fairly minor military actions and are responsible for 600,000 plus US deaths while GOP PResidents up until the RINO era of the Bush’s can barely get credit for overe 6,000. WHO ARE THE WAR MONGERS? Who are the most viscous haters or is it just pick on some one to make sure as LBJ did that his corporatist socialist friends got the war contracts.

        Wilson finagled the country into WWI, FDR used WWI to establish a dictatorship under the guise of principled policy and because his fiscal recovery policy was failing, LBJ invented a lie called Tonkin Gulf, Obama ran on a platform of six months and out – yet ran and widened awar for eight years. His share another 6,000 plus deaths of US Service personnel..

        Who got the War Powers Act passed and then refused to abide by it while the Bush’s of all people compliled twice?

        While you and your leftist friends dodged the draft and sucked up all the benefits such as college funding and yet still held on to the draft (sss.gov)

        That’s one thing Sarendon finally got right.

        Who are the war mongers…You are. Straight up, hands down and no excuses.

        One other thing they have in common. Everyone of them was or is a progressive socialst liberal darwinist or as I like to say a progressively regressivew socialist.

        One reason 80% of the combat arms voted against Clinton.

        Stick it. No more cannon fodder and add to that no more baby factories which I believe is why you didn’t keep the draft and make it equal.

        Source; Any Times Almanac for any year will give the dead, wounded etc figures and the dates seem to almost always fall during progressive admnistration.

      • And along with being dead wrong on War Mongering we are now finding out both parties are nothing but Clintonistas when it comes to victimizing women.

        Stick it twice and don’t ask for factual sources unless you can produce your own.

        Your programmer really sucks. Robo Clone Collective. Should have stocked up on three in one during Black Friday Days.

    • Autumn,

      I don’t know if you already saw this: “Even Trump supporters admit that his election was a reaction to how corrupt and fraudulent our economy and society had become during the 21st century — first under Bush and then Obama. Independents such as myself, despite finding Trump revolting and dangerous, tend to agree with this assessment.

      The only significant group of people who simply refuse to admit this fact are those who proudly proclaim themselves to be part of “the resistance.” Many of them thought everything was going just fine for the country while Obama was President simply because things were going well for them…”

      https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/11/27/the-future-is-what-we-make-of-it-part-1/#more-49120

      • “Many of them thought everything was going just fine for the country while Obama was President simply because things were going well for them…”” -Jill

        Yes; absolutely true. And if HRC had been elected, they would have felt the same way.

        (I’ll check out the link, Jill. Thanks, as always.)

    • AMen to that. The only worthwhile party is one the founders invented called Independent Self Governing Citizens. Along with others and with zero budget we managed to destory Clinton, savage the former DNC aka progressively regressive socialists and bring in an outsider who is slowly gutting what they spent a hundred years building.

      Amazing what a few good men and women can accomplish when the find they CAN handle the truth.

  7. It would seem that the Hatch Act is intended to prevent federal employees from weaponizing their paid positions in a partisan manner. An obvious example is preventing members of the armed forces from actively engaging in political activities in uniform. In my opinion, the most serious abuse would be weaponizing a federal agency to target citizens in order to advance a political party and its agenda. The IRS targeting of conservative groups is an obvious example. What is confusing is allowing a certain class of citizen to be exempt from the act.

    • Olly, Isn’t it extraordinary how the left never criticizes the weaponization (great word) of the IRS by Obama? It demonstrates their totalitarian leanings and utter lack of concern for the Constitution.

      • Going into the wayback machine,I recall one of our Presidents saying, Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won. That was in 2009 and then the IRS was empowered to target opposition leading up to the 2012 election. We’ll always have political opposition. I believe it’s support by the Left for that sort of weaponizing of government agencies that the Left fears the most. They of course created and lost control of their Frankenstein. Now they oppose such consequences. Little do they understand that true conservatives aren’t interested in anything more than neutering these agencies so they cannot be employed to target any opposition.

        • ” true conservatives aren’t interested in anything more than neutering these agencies so they cannot be employed to target any opposition.”

          That is a problem with the Democrat of today. The party has shifted even further to the left and too many of its members have embraced totalitarian tactics.

              • Mary Shelly is also the creator of the monster.

                Paul,
                If you’re going to double-down on the minutiae, at least pay attention to the spelling. Mary Shelley.

                • Mary Shelley created Dr Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster (and the villagers with torches, too.)

                  Although Paul is correct, that Frankenstein was the Doctor and not the monster, we shorten “Frankenstein’s Monster” to simply “Frankenstein” for short. Kind of like an endearing nickname. It’s just too long to use in sentences and the vernacular has taken hold. Sorry, Dr Frankenstein. Your name will always be synonymous with the Monster.

                  My favorites screen adaptation was the Gene Wilder version. The PC Police would never have let Mel Brooks make a single movie today. So I suppose we could just as easily call the Monster Abby Normal.

                  • There’s nothing wrong with Paul being technically correct. It’s even more important if it corrects the point being made or enhances it. In this case it does neither. It distracts from the point and before you know it, the shiny object folks are gone.

                    Young Frankenstein is one of those movies that I can watch numerous times and still enjoy it each and every time. 🙂

                  • Karen S – “we” (I am not included in this) shorten Frankenstein’s monster to Frankenstein because we are illiterate. I read and gave a book report on Mary Shelley’s book in high school. Anyone else who has actually read the book raise their hand and vote aye.

                    • Olly – I gave you credit for catching my spelling error. You still have not admitted your error which was far more substantial. 😉

                      On another note. it was an oral book report for my sophomore literature class so I did not have to submit a written report. Spelling did not count. 🙂

                    • “Allan – read the book.”

                      Paul, it would be easier if you post your book report.

                      Should I say see the musical? 🙂

                    • Paul, Tell me why that book is so much more important than the present book I am reading or the ones that will follow.

                    • Allan – it is a classic that should be read by all literate people. Just put it on your list. Get to it when you can, the story will not get stale. 😉

                    • Paul, you are acting as if there is only one classic that is of importance. How about the other thousand or more? What makes Frankenstein #1 on the list? Intermittently I am reading for the second time Thucydides (the Landmark edition that is more recent) while I read more topical books. Is Frankenstein more important? Many books that are topical today and are not classics perhaps have greater importance in one’s life. If you think Frankenstein needs to be moved to the top of the list tell us why.

                    • Allan – all I said was that it was worth the read and put it on your list. Don’t drop what you are reading now to read it, just try to get to it sometime. 😉 There is a new translation of Gogol’s Dead Souls that I have to track down and read, got good reviews and it is on my list. I have both fiction and non-fiction on my list, so I try to switch between them. I am working my way through American Literature from the Colonial Period to the Romantic Period. Right now, I am reading some of the ministers and their sermons. Glad I didn’t have to sit, stand or kneel for them. I have read many of the Greeks and Romans and taught them. Really don’t wish to read them again. 😉 I even read Strabo and Josephus.

                  • Look, Abbott and Costello, the ultimate authorities on such matters, have agreed that “Frankenstein” can be used as a shorthand for Frankenstein’s creation, as noted below in one of their movie trailers. Unfortunately, although most posters on this blog recognize the distinction between the shorthand and the actual “Frankenstein,” owing to our familiarity with the original source literature, much of the general population takes the shorthand literally, which, of course, is incorrect.

                    The public has done the same sort of thing with Richard Condon’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and John Frankenheimer’s masterful film rendition of it, with screenplay by George Axelrod. The public erroneously calls the Raymond Shaw character (played by Laurence Harvey in the classic 1962 version) the “Manchurian Candidate.” The public typically–but erroneously–uses that label to refer to someone who has been hypnotized or programmed to commit a murder, usually for some sinister political purpose, without consciously being aware of what they’re doing. But the “Manchurian Candidate” is actually the Senator John Iselin character in Condon’s novel (with the character played by James Gregory in the same 1962 version).

                    I hope I’ve cleared things up.

                    • Ralph Adamo – Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy as well but that did not make them experts on Egyptology. 🙂

                    • Paul, I can’t concur. Abbott and Costello (individually and as a team) are experts on a broad range of topics, ranging from baseball to Egyptology. Many have tried to challenge their expertise over the years and have only ended up completely flummoxed and defeated, as noted in the following example on the subject of mathematics.

                    • Ralph Adamo – although I am a fan of Abbot and Costello, I do not see them as experts in any field except comedy. There they are geniuses. I would be happy to meet you anywhere to debate this issue. However, a prior viewing of at least 25 Abbot and Costello films would be necessary to prep for the debate, so we may need some time. 😉

                    • Well, Paul, at least we can agree that Abbott & Costello were experts. One thing else I can tell you. In college, I took a course in dramatic literature with a focus on the classics that included works by Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, Moliere, and Beckett. And I recall that during one of those classes, the professor played A&C’s famous baseball sketch. I can’t recall now why he played that particular piece, but he was using it to illustrate some point pertinent to drama. So this puts A&C up there with the biggies.

                    • Ralph Adamo – I played Roger Corman’s Deathrace 2000 in my film class on Great Films. Not that that was a great film, just as an example of what a bad film was. Then they would see the difference in the good films. I am sure your professor thought highly of Abbot and Costello but would never rank them with Shakespeare or Chekhov. He/she was trying to make a point and it was easier to access that videotape to do it. 🙂

                    • Okay, Paul, but you must broaden your horizons. Someday I shall elucidate how The Three Stooges have demonstrated unequivocally how the plumbing and electrician professions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

                    • Ralph Adamo – now I have lost all respect for you. I lost interest in the Three Stooges when I discovered the brilliant Buster Keaton. Five times the comedian, 20 times the damage. 🙂

                    • Nobody prior to your post has compared The Three Stooges with Buster Keaton. And all this may be well and good, but what does this have to do with Kellyanne Conway and the Hatch Act?

                    • What have you said that’s wrong? Well, “Five times the comedian, 20 times the damage” is certainly wrong. What damage? Also, you fail to separate comedy from art. Buster Keaton was a comic as well as an artist. The Three Stooges were comics, but not artists. Their goal was creating laughs. Keaton also had that goal, but others as well.

                    • Ralph Adamo – if you do not know the damage Keaton did/does, you have not seen The General or any other Keaton full-length film.

                    • Paul, first of all I, I know more about Keaton and his films than you do. There was once a Keaton festival in NYC where the ran most of feature films and I saw them all. I also own and a DVD collection that includes all of his feature and a good number of his shorts, and have seen most of them–though the collection seems to be missing some of the shorts that co-featured Fatty Arbuckle. And I’ve read many books about Keaton and his films. As for the “damage” you spoke of, I did not know what you were referring to because you did not explain the context and that word is too general (no pun intended) to have the meaning you wanted to express. Had you used “property destruction,” your intent would have been clear. Keaton’s comedy frequently featured sight gags that revolved around the destruction of property.

                    • Ralph Adamo – you might know as much as I do about Buster Keaton, but I would be hard-pressed to give you credit for knowing more. I have seen all his films that are still available, including a couple of shorts with Fatty. Have you seen the Harry Langdon films? I have seen all of those that are available.

                    • Paul, I’ve been watching and studying Keaton films (as well as Chaplin’s, Lloyd’s and others) since I was 12 years old, and first began owning them since the days of 8mm. But here’s a “trivia” question that will be a sort of test to determine if you really know Keaton’s work:

                      Who was one of the great comic minds writing and working behind the scenes helping to create many of the best Keaton works who sadly ended up committing suicide? [Doing an Internet search would be cheating.]

                      I’ll even give you two hints. This person not only worked with Keaton, but also worked with Harold Lloyd, W. C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, and Abbott and Costello–and, ironically, also shared a name in common with Hitler.

                    • Ralph Adamo – are you talking about Buckman or Bruckman, the guy who shot himself, or the girlfriend who drank herself to death cannot remember her name. I retired from teaching 20 years ago and haven’t taught film since then. Still re-watch the films though.

                      In return, here is a trivia question for you. What is the original name of the play that Keaton whored himself out in his last performance?

                    • Yes, Clyde Bruckman. With regard to your follow-up question, I don’t know what you’re referring to.

                    • Ralph Adamo – deconstruct the question part by part and then solve the riddle. I have confidence in you. 🙂

                    • Your question is still unclear to me. You could be referring to Buster’s last major film performance as the character Erroneous in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which I first saw as a child and thought, even then, was hilarious. Then, in college, I took a course in Greek Drama and read and was wowed by Pseudolus by Plautus, and, which I learned, was an important source for the material for the “Forum” movie. This, perhaps, was what you were alluding to when you said that Buster was “whoring” himself. However, “Forum” wasn’t Buster’s last film performance. His last was actually a movie called “Film,” written by Samuel Beckett, who worked with Buster in the making of this movie. But how does “Film” relate to “whoring,” literally or figuratively? I’m sure that Buster didn’t accept the offer to perform on that film because he needed the money. New generations continued to “discover” him and he actually had regular work in his later years. I was watching some old Twilight Zones on Netflix, for example, and was delighted to see him in an episode playing a character much like I’ve remembered him. I looked up Beckett’s film, and the source material for that appears to be an earlier play of his called “Eh, Joe.” But I don’t see a “whoring” connection there either. So that leaves “Forum” and Plautus’s “Pseudolus” as its primary source material as my best shot at your riddle.

                    • Ralph Adamo – it is Forum and he was horrible in that role. If I was a kid, I might have liked him, but I was already old enough to have seen many of his films and he was a great disappointment. Actually, the whole film was a disappointment, but he was the worst. His timing was off in his gags and they did not seem plot driven. Besides, Plautus is a wordsmith and not into physical comedy. I am not sure why they threw him into the film.

                      I have not seen “Film”, did not know it existed. Seems you have to go to a screening to see it. Have you seen it? BTW, since it is a two-reeler, it doesn’t count. 😉

                    • No, Paul, I haven’t seen “Film.” Don’t knock Buster’s two-reelers. Some of them are classics. In fact, “Cops” is probably the best introduction I can think of for a new audience to the art of silent film and comedy. Buster collaborated with Eddie Cline to make this great little movie that has stood the test of time. Cline was once asked what it was like to direct Buster in that movie, and his response was a comical one, not surprisingly. He said, “I was more of a referee than a director.”

                      Here’s a terrific photo of Buster with his creative team:

                      https://www.google.com/search?q=photo+keaton+cline+bruckman&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=Tug0aiOzSD0QDM%253A%252CHlnv5Wx8qdU1FM%252C_&usg=__zdDtbKsaQdwCUpgxduwVVB7R5TI%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNuZbhtPHXAhULHGMKHYnFDvMQ9QEIKzAA#imgrc=EfliwlLzXjR-_M:

                    • Paul, the point of having “rules of the game” is to have them in place before the game starts, not after.

                    • Ralph – my friend, we never set any rules. I would agree with you but I think I did say film with usually refers a a full-length, not a two-reeler. 😉

                    • No, Paul, you specifically referred to Buster’s “last performance”–not last film, whether feature length or not. So my point stands. If your argument went up to the Ninth Circuit, they might agree with you. But that is only because the Ninth Circuit has never let the facts, evidence, logic, or law ever get in the way of reaching their predetermined conclusions.

                    • Ralph Adamo – I will walk that back then, my bad. Next to last. 🙂 I was not aware of Film until I checked it on Imdb. And I am not sure it is a performance as much as just walking around and taking up space.

                    • Ralph Adamo – I have the Kino edition of Steamboat Bill, Jr. I have always been amazed at the way Keaton would abuse his female stars. 😉 Unlike Chaplin, whose characters were mean and vicious, Keaton’s were just thoughtless and focused on something else.

          • “I have a phone and a pen.”

            The standing ovation at the State of the Union really cemented that one for the history books. It’s right up there with the Pelosi classic; We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.

            Those are two progressive gems that epitomize just what the administrative state has become.

    • The military follows one strict rule. Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic….Commanders-In-Chief are not exempt if they are seen to be anti-constitutional and it came very close to that when Jackboot Janet Von Flamethrower II Neapolitano shot off her mouth and spilled the beans. Even so our military started ‘Ballots Not Bullets’ as they did not want to have to tel OBama to shove it when he called out the miltary against fellow citizens.

      Some wanted him to declare martial law but failed to realize that Obama would have been the first one handcuffed and sent before a tribunal. Martial law means exactly that and there is no more Congress, civil authority , Supreme Court until order is restored.

      Not a lot of Brain power at 430 S. Capitol St. SE Washington, DC

  8. I’ll leave this issue to the courts to determine but one thing I can say is to promote someone who very likely abused children is despicable. This is just like the Obamabots. Oh, so he killed a 17 year old boy? Well, I don’t care, I want this guy as president because I’ll get the things I want if he stays in office.

    Just so, the lives of these women are of no concern when a tax break is at stake. What is wrong with people that they so willingly sacrifice others for their own gain? When does this calculation of harm to others vs. benefit to me stop?

    These types of calculations are part of why this nation has some of the worst “leadership” possible. Unethical, uncaring citizens think nothing of getting what they want at the expense of others. How’s that working out for the US (and the rest of the world) as a whole?

  9. So what happened to all those IRS agents who had Obama for President stickers on their computers? Never heard of them getting hit with the Hatch Act. And when the President of the US supports a candidate, is he/she/it immune from the Hatch Act? What about Senators and Congressmen? Are they immune?

    • Paul, POTUS is exempt from the act. Most appointees responsible for making policy decisions are also exempt from the act. That’s why Turley mentioned the policy-making defense for Conway.

    • Also, the act applies only to federal employees and appointees of the executive branch. So Congress is exempt. And most appointees whose nominations have to be confirmed by the Senate are also exempt.

  10. Another embarrassment for the Trump White House? Of course, but I think the Trump White House is immune from feeling embarrassment – just say or do whatever, even if it’s against the law, it’s all ok.

    • Operative word in that paragraph is also the source of your false premise that ended in an incorrect conclusion. “I think.” It is apparent you don’t but like one fo the others are just programmed.

  11. HOLD ON!!! JT, so all we have to do is prosecute fed employees every time they open their mouth?? Hallelujah! Prosecute them all! I can watch TV again without hearing about the D.C. swamp! Our lives can be returned back to normal.

    • Well, here’s what Wikipedia says about the historical origins of The Hatch Act:

      “Widespread allegations that local Democratic Party politicians used employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the congressional elections of 1938 provided the immediate impetus for the passage of the Hatch Act. Criticism centered on swing states such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In Pennsylvania, Republicans and dissident Democrats publicized evidence that Democratic politicians were consulted on the appointment of WPA administrators and case workers and that they used WPA jobs to gain unfair political advantage. In 1938, a series of newspaper articles exposed WPA patronage, and political contributions in return for employment, prompting an investigation by the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee, headed by Sen. Morris Sheppard, a Texas Democrat.”

      Theoretically, the Hatch Act is supposed to prevent federal employees from coordinating their official duties and official powers with big-city political-patronage machines. But there must be more to it than that.

      • It started back with Andrew Jackson if I am not mistaken maybe earlier and slowly grew just as executive orders etc. I believe the last administration rarely if ever passed or Executive OIrdered anytning that was constitutional

    • Here’s more from the Wikipedia article describing the provisions of the Hatch Act:

      “The 1939 Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns, using this language to specify those who are exempt:

      (i) an employee paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President; or
      (ii) an employee appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose position is located within the United States, who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in the nationwide administration of Federal laws.”

      Notice the part prohibiting the intimidation or bribery of voters and add that to the part prohibiting political practices that would be illegal for any citizen. While those provisions do not effect Conway, there’s confusion downstream from this post suggesting that t he Hatch Act is exclusively an administrative constraint on federal employees. It is not exclusively administrative, since the intimidation and bribery of voters are illegal for any citizen.

      • Certain things are illegal with or without the Hatch Act. I don’t think the remedies of the Hatch Act were criminal remedies. Therefore administrative is the correct word. I believe you over interpret an interpretation by Wikipedia and make your interpretation self-serving and incorrect.

  12. Oliver Clozoff said Alice in Wonderland said, “. . . the failure to prosecute any one person who may have committed a crime allows all other criminals to escape prosecution altogether.”

    Oliver, Alice’s theory would go a long way toward explaining the Sexual Misconduct Pandemic of 2017. Did Alice say anything about an SM Pandemic in Wonderland?

  13. Nope, not a disclosure, JT. Not by a long shot. A disclosure in your case would be an admission that you hate Roy Moore because he’s a conservative and not a Leftist Lowlife like you are. Of course, had you disclosed this truth about yourself, anything you have to say about anything involving Moore would be properly deemed Leftist BS.

    • My goodness, but you are confused. Turley doesn’t stand over here on the left. It is just that you stand over on the fall-off-the-cliff edge right.

  14. Nope, not a disclosure, JT, by a long shot. A disclosure in your case would be an admission that you hate Roy Moore because he’s a conservative and not a Leftist Lowlife like you are. Of course, had you disclosed this truth about yourself, anything you have to say about anything involving Moore would be properly deemed Leftist BS.

  15. I hadn’t thought of it that way George but in a more dollars and cents fashion but that does make sense. The Hatch act does seem to First Amendment stifle and is due for an update for sure but law iaw. though I don’t see it being applied even handedly.

    Consider the potential impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginzberg as an example from position where duct tape should be employed as she went way overboard the standards ‘appearance of impropriety; So your last sentence hits the mark in many ways and the answer is no they cannot. And that is is perhaps Clintons most serious crime against the nation in fostering that atmosphere.

    Back to dollars and cents. Befpre the election Conwy was a very successful campaign adviser and manager. Mid Terms at hand and another general two years later and what better way to be asked to resign with a bit of noteriety and then dropped. Two years from now back into full campaign mode

    Now back to Hatch Act again. At what point does free speech end? Does either side want to see this continue to it’s rather apparent conclusion with any nuimber of people facing the same charges and by the way Mr. Ethics Dude. Where ARE the other complaints and charges?

    • Ah, I see. If a complaint regarding a potential violation of the law is made by a political opponent or critic of the person who is the target of the complaint, that means that all wrongdoing by the target of the complaint should be absolved. That’s a fabulous get out of jail card for politicians of all stripes, and for their political minions such as Kelly Ann Conway. They can all accuse each other of misconduct and then say that the accusations should not be pursued because they are “political.”

      What’s tiring are lame attempts by many people, on all sides of the political aisle, to deflect attention from what appears to be misconduct by claiming that an investigation or prosecution is “political.” Sometimes a person’s politics is a motivating factor in prosecutions or investigations. Don Siegelman would certainly argue that point. As would Ted Stevens, if he could. But the injection of “politics” into an investigation, whatever that means, does not excuse violations of the law. Would you excuse a member of Black Lives Matter from violating the law merely because they are accused of violating the law by a racist?

      Of course, tread carefully when “politics” (whatever that means) may be involved in a prosecution. But don’t let a cry of “politics” turn into a ticket to ignore the facts.

      But by all means, keep whining. It won’t really distract from what appears to be a violation of the Hatch Act by Conway.

      • Oliver Clozoff, would you please be so kind as to explain the rationale behind The Hatch Act? Turley seems to be presuming that we’re all supposed to know the reason for that law already. Was it on the syllabus? Is guessing allowed?

        I’m guessing that The Hatch Act is supposed to prevent federal revenue in the form salaries and travel expenses for federal employees from being used to promote candidates for public office. Is there more to it than that?

  16. And fired FBI Director Comey delineated the egregious and multiple violations of Hillary Clinton (the whole world knows the allegations of rape and abuse against her husband) and proceeded to exonerate her before the fact. Can anyone be seriously prosecuted with Hillary still on the loose?

    • Of course not, my dear George. I have it on good authority that the failure to prosecute any one person who may have committed a crime allows all other criminals to escape prosecution altogether. Why I would not be surprised if Paul Manafort’s crack team of legal eagles files a motion to throw out the prosecution of their client on the grounds that Hillary was never prosecuted.

      Who is my authority? Why Alice herself, old chap, Alice in Wonderland.

      • “the failure to prosecute any one person who may have committed a crime allows all other criminals to escape prosecution altogether. ”

        Oliver, The Hatch Act is not a criminal statute. I think you are heading over the cliff.

        • Allan, Oliver Clozoff was responding to George. George broached the subjects of crime and criminal prosecution. Scroll and stay fluid, Allan.

          • Diane, It is of no importance who Oliver was responding to. He was mixing up a potential criminal complaint with an administrative constraint on government employees.

            You need to get your facts in order and better understand what you are reading. Either that or get someone to proofread what you write.

            • George said, “And fired FBI Director Comey delineated the egregious and multiple violations of Hillary Clinton (the whole world knows the allegations of rape and abuse against her husband) and proceeded to exonerate her before the fact. Can anyone be seriously prosecuted with Hillary still on the loose?”

              Oliver Clozoff said, “Of course not, my dear George. I have it on good authority that the failure to prosecute any one person who may have committed a crime allows all other criminals to escape prosecution altogether.”

              There you go, Allan. I put the two comments next to one another so that you can understand what Oliver Clozoff was saying; and so that you can understand that you attempted to refute that which had not been written.

              • I will repeat in a louder manner for your deaf ears. The subject is the Hatch Act.

                “HE WAS MIXING UP A POTENTIAL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT WITH AN ADMINISTRATIVE CONSTRAINT ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES”

                Diane, I know your brain has a tendency to go off on tangents unable to focus on the subject so again I urge you to get someone to proofread what you write.

                • Allan, I am not the only one who reads your posts. Lots of other people on the blawg read your posts, Allan. You might want to keep your wider readership in mind when composing your jibes, Tartuffe.

                  P. S. Is there any chance, do you suppose that George “WAS MIXING UP A POTENTIAL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT WITH AN ADMINISTRATIVE CONSTRAINT ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES”???

                  • Diane, I am not at all concerned with who doesn’t read my posts or who dislikes them. I am sure they will be happy to read whatever false garbage you can provide. In fact why you read anything I say is a mystery to me. Your mind is like cement and I am not a jackhammer.

                    Oliver was being sarcastic and has that right. I didn’t comment to George. Sarcasm doesn’t work out so well when the errors make the underlying premise of the sarcastic statement invalid.

                    You don’t understand these things. Get a proofreader.

                    • If you are not at all concerned about who reads your posts….why are you posting. The attitude signals the outcome and that done without care is ..of no use. Objectively speaking.

                    • Allan said, “Oliver was being sarcastic . . . ”

                      No kidding, Tartuffe. What tipped you off? The citation of Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, as an authority?

                      Allan also said, “I didn’t comment to George.”

                      Of course not. Oliver Clozoff commented sarcastically to George. Try to keep up.

                      Allan said, “Sarcasm doesn’t work out so well when the errors make the underlying premise of the sarcastic statement invalid.”

                      In the first place, the error you pointed out was George’s error–not Oliver Clozoff’s. Secondly, a sarcastic statement means the exact opposite of what it states, by definition, Tartuffe. When one refutes a sarcastic statement, one confirms the truth of the underlying premise–error and all. Thusly did Allan’s tartuffery confirm the truth of Oliver Clozoff’s refutation of George’s error.

                      Allan concluded, “You don’t understand these things. Get a proofreader.”

                      Allan advises himself in the act of advising others. That is why Allan is incapable of heeding his own advice.

                    • “No kidding, Tartuffe. What tipped you off?”

                      Diane, Not everyone is as dense as you are and needs a jackhammer to get through to the gray matter. Oliver’s underlying premise was wrong. One can generally be sarcastic when they have the facts. In this case, Oliver didn’t have them. But to you that is normal. You seldom have the facts and therefore make all sorts of inane comments.

                      George’s error was doubled down by Oliver. I choose who I wish to reply to. Oliver can now take that fact up with George if he wishes or you can. But Oliver was wrong and his sarcasm didn’t indicate he knew any better.

                      As I said before get a proofreader, but maybe you should start with an education.

                    • ), On two scores. 1) A pedant can be ignorant and petty.

                      2)”If you are not at all concerned about who reads your posts”

                      That is quite different than ” I am not at all concerned with who doesn’t read my posts or who dislikes them.”

        • Darren Smith said, “The absurdity is becoming tiring. Politically motivated prosecutions are becoming the norm in this country.”

          Oliver Clozoff said, “But by all means, keep whining. It won’t really distract from what appears to be a violation of the Hatch Act by Conway.”

          George asked, ” Can anyone be seriously prosecuted with Hillary still on the loose?”

          Oliver Clozoff said, “But the injection of “politics” into an investigation, whatever that means, does not excuse violations of the law.”

          George asked, “. . . can these minions grasp the need for equitable justice, an absence of bias, prejudice and favoritism, and the waxing of a public perception of complete corruption of the government?”

          Oliver Clozoff sarcastically said, “Why I would not be surprised if Paul Manafort’s crack team of legal eagles files a motion to throw out the prosecution of their client on the grounds that Hillary was never prosecuted.”

          George concluded, “The condition being an insurmountable distraction, one cannot debate with Oliver Clozoff.”

          Well . . . There Mr. Smith’s tiresome absurdity, for you.

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