Office of Special Counsel Calls For Removal Of Kellyanne Conway

The Office of Special Counsel today took the extraordinary step of recommending the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violations of the Hatch Act. That Act bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work and Conway has been repeatedly cited with violations. (For the record, Kellyanne Conway is one of my former students).

The report submitted to President Trump cited Conway’s “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” She is described as a “repeat offender.”

As I have said before, Conway has clearly violated the Act in the past and has shown at times a mocking dismissal of its provisions. However, the Act lacks any real teeth. Conway’s firing would depend on Trump, who is not likely to follow the recommendation.

The Act often leaves a certain ambiguity for aides like Conway who hold political portfolios. Conway is expected to defend the President and his policies. However, she has crossed the line by openly supporting some Republican candidates from the White House. Past advisers have accomplished the same result by stopping short of an outright call to voters.

Conway has been open in her disregard for the federal law and said that some were trying to “silence her” with the Hatch Act. The problem is that this is a federal law and one does not have the discretion to comply or not comply as a federal employee. The OSC stressed “Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.” 

For Trump, disregarding such a rare recommendation will further magnify criticism of the ethical standards in the White House. This includes Trump’s disregard of long-standing policies against nepotism in the use of his daughter and son-in-law in key (though unpaid) positions. This recommendation is a rare move by the OSC and shows how serious it considers the underlying conduct to be.

131 thoughts on “Office of Special Counsel Calls For Removal Of Kellyanne Conway”

  1. We have seen lots of this by the “permanent washington establishment”.

    Why isn’t the actions of the OSC itself a violation of the “hatch act” ?

    Why can various employees of the federal govenrment target other employees of the federal govenrment specifically because they disagree with their politics ?

    This entire Conway mess is just a minuture version of the Trump/Russia nonsense.

    It is the swamp creatures fighting back.

    Which they are perfectly entitled to do but NOT USING THE POWERS OF THEIR FEDERAL JOB.

    If the OSC staff wishes to privately – outside their job, screetch about Conway – more power to them. They are as they should be completely protected for their own political expression outside of their jobs.

    They are not inside their jobs.

    Provide me with evidence that the law as it is being applied to Conway was similarly applied to her predecessors and you have my interest.

    If not – the hatch act violation is with the OSC, not Conway.

    Those working at OSC are NOT political appointees. They are carreer bueacrats, and they NOT the white house political staff are more stringently covered by the hatch act.

    If as Barr is found of saying at the moment – there is not sufficient predicate for this attack on Conway, there are people who need fired – but not Conway.

    Conversely if we are going to fire Conway over this, then we damn well better hold subsequent peolitical appointments to the same standards.

  2. The hatch act is a disasterous mess.

    If a violation hinges on the minutia that Turley’s comments suggest it is impossible garbage.

    As a rule we do not want federal employees engaging in politics on the job. Particularly while acting in their “official” roles.

    At the same time we can not preclude federal employees from engaging in politics – that would be an egregiously clear constitutional violation.

    The political appointments of every president from the begining of time, have engaged in politics – that is their JOB. Conway quite clearly is in Political job. She is no different from Plouffe or Rove or Stephanolpolis or myriads of other white house predecessors.

    Any effort to distinguish her conduct from those people is nonsense.

    Conway is CORRECT, this is just an effort to silence her.

    I would suggest that a more appropriate means of weighing “hatch act” violations would be whether federal government resources are involved.

    Most of Conways purported offensive remarks were to the media on weekend political shows. To me that seems to be a forum where any ought to be free to express their PERSONAL views. Nor would the Media’s choice to identify her by a whitehouse role change that. If however her travel was paid for by the federal govenrment, or she used the perqs of her position – for political purposes that would be a violation.

    Mostly this seems to me to be a biased weaponizing of the hatch act.

    Turley mentions in passing that there are Hatch Act carve outs for those with political roles. But he does not delve much into that.

    Conway seems to me to have a job that is presumptively political and to which the Hatch Act to be constitutional would have to give the greatest latitude.

  3. Rules? The law? What does that have to do with the Trump administration? They have shown no regard for the law or rules. They have proven the law or rules do not apply to them.

  4. Not just the wise choice but the only choice. He’s learning as he grows in leadership ability never never never give in to the far left as it costs votes while exposing them wins new votes. The educated thinking self governing citizens of the country appreciate a Constitutionalist as a leader and one who doesn’t make a habit of caving to the left. Not your typical RINO!!!

  5. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”

    After what we’ve witnessed from the Democrats over the last 2.5 years, it’s laughable to conceive there was any foundation left to erode. I’ll reserve judgment until after we get the rest of the investigative reports. Then let’s have that rule of law discussion.

  6. Yesterday, the Communist bandit leaders in Beijing warned the US to stay out of its business!

    Thus invoking the most worn out trope of Chinese political organization, resistance to the round eyed devils!

    Shows they are in serious public relations trouble on this if they have to start wagging the finger at the laowei, or as they say in HK, gweilo

    Chinese in Diaspora places like the ROK are at odds over this and apparently Koreans have an opinion too. hmm, what will Beijing do as it continues to lose face over its clumsy attempt to impose itself on HK?

    1. quick check of the NYT website leaderboard around noon on friday: lead story is about Iran and the tanker, next two stories same, next 2 stories about Russia meddling and what a bad boy Trump has been, next a video of a 4 month old detained by INS, next story about the multitude of Dem POTUS candidates, two more about Democrats, and of course, a story about nazis, a story about harriet tubman, and one for the gays too. HK week of chaos and conflict not even on the radar.

      Where’s the China news? Buried somewhere in the website? Because Anon told me yesterday I was lying that the NYT was downplaying it, backpaging it. Seems like they did it again! It’s more important that we hear stuff like BUT RUSSIA REALLY DID INTERFERE For the ten millionth time! Sad and pathetic!

      Oh, I’m supposed to apologize. Apologize to my foot! NYT is not fit for use in an outhouse! I apologize for giving them a second chance, it was foolish of me to even waste a minute looking.

      Here’s where to go for asia news (noncommie chinese news in america)

      also the straitstimes dot com which is out of singapore

      1. Kurtz is lying again. I said he was wrong about the NYTs coverage and opinion on the Hong Kong protests and provided him the front page article and subsequent editorial, all of which irrefutably disproved his specific attack and his interpretation of those events. Since he lacks any principles, or self respect enough to correct his mistakes, they become lies and he has no standing to be taken seriously on anything he says, but especially on this issue.

          1. The spineless kurtz seems to think opinions don’t rely on facts and when confronted with facts refuses to accept them and trim his opinions. How he thinks his opinion then has any value worth reading is a mystery.

            1. you see that’s why i post other people’s opinions, because I am just a humble person.

              Perhaps then it’s all these other people you disagree with, but feel free to hang your frustrations one me if it pleases you.

              in the meantime, the multitudes agree:

              THE NYT SUCKS


          The New York Times sucks at the web
          Go to the profile of Ian McKellar
          Ian McKellar
          Sep 23, 2015
          I read a lot of news. It’s probably unhealthy. I have a compulsion to know what’s going on. I mostly read the Australian ABC and British BBC news sites. I’ve been living in the US for 15 years now so I felt like I should find an American news source.

          In spite of their recent history of fabrications, plagiarism and complicity with government misinformation the New York Times is considered the top of the field. The competition isn’t great.

          I started reading the Times front page every day, often finding interesting stories or perspectives. I quickly hit their 10 article limit paywall. After a few weeks of Open in incognito tab I decided to pay up. Their clever introductory pricing induced me to take the chance.

          My Times reading actually fell off a little after that. Perhaps the uptick in gun violence, the escalation of the European refugee crisis and the Republican primary shitshow reduced my enthusiasm for the news. Perhaps the mild anxiety disorder that keeps me reloading the news briefly abated. Who knows.

          When I returned (or relapsed) I was hitting the paywall again. No matter how many times I logged in and checked Remember me it would not. I returned to opening stories in incognito tabs. That’s less convenient than just clicking the link, but more convenient than having to log in repeatedly.

          After all this I decided to cancel my subscription. The New York Times sells their subscriptions in terms of convenience not content. The content is the same, but they charge different prices to see it without limits on different sized screens or on paper. I am not getting convenience.

          Subscribing was easy — how hard could canceling be? I couldn’t find anything on the mobile web site. I switched to the desktop version of the site and finally found the cancellation page. It has a nice big banner, a warning that I’ll “lose unlimited access to the world’s most influential reporting, opinion and commentary in journalism today”, but then no buttons, no web forms, just:

          To cancel your subscription quickly and easily, please call Customer Care at 877–698–5635
          Hours of Operation:
          Monday — Friday: 7:30 a.m. ET through 9:00 p.m. ET
          Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 a.m. ET through 5:00 p.m. ET
          Call them? I’m not sure if I want to think well of them and assume that they’re clueless, backward old media or ill of them and notice them using the same techniques that scammers use to retain customers by making it impossible to cancel.

          Well, in the end it only took three minutes, but I really hate having to make phone calls.

      2. Kurtz, the fool of the blog, Anon, continues on this story. Are you saying the NYTimes published the story but later than it should have? I don’t know except I didn’t receive my typical alert concerning that event. That would make Anon a liar again but he lies so frequently one loses count. The NYTimes frequently has to be pushed into running stories while they play games on page one. This is not new.

  7. “Lock her up! Lock her up!” Oy vey! And after their done with Hatch Act persecution, don’t forget to get her for jay-walking and bad judgement (dumb-ass ugly husband for example).

  8. The original Hatch Act was enacted in 1939. In 1993 President Clinton signed an act of Congress called the Hatch Act Reform Act which allows federal government workers to perform political activities and say things while “off duty”.
    Man alive! Conway said something after Five! She is not abridging the law. The Hatch Act was a bridge over troubled waters during the Roosevelt Era. FDR not TR.
    So bloggers: let us consider the room Conway and others have to speak out under the Reform Act of 1993. What would Bill Clinton have to say on this today? He signed the law into effect. Reform.

  9. “For Trump, disregarding such a rare recommendation will further magnify criticism of the ethical standards in the White House.”

    It appears that to some on the left ethics is only applied to those on the right.

    There is too much BS in government where some are sanctimoneous but serve the biggest cheaters and themselves. I wonder if this is true of the office of the special counsel.

  10. Most of the “outrage” over Conway’s comments come from the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC. Because the credibility of those two networks is in the tank — more people in the US keep chickens as pets than watch CNN — not many people will care about this.

  11. Like the Comey FBI and Brennan CIA and the various Federal District court Judges who strangely rule against Trump Executive orders 95% of the time – I’m supposed to believe this agency is headed by fair, impartial people just enforcing the rules. Sorry, I don’t buy that. Tell who the is behind this. Tell what there politics are. Give me the details. Tell me the other side. Because i don’t trust the DC insiders to treat Trump fairly unless I have proof.



    President Trump on Thursday afternoon announced that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would be departing her job at “the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas.”

    But Sanders had unofficially left her job as White House press secretary earlier this year, when she allowed the tradition of frequent official White House briefings to lapse — and then, to die. When Trump announced Sanders’s departure, it had been 94 days since the last briefing.

    For the rosiest possible spin on the news, we take you to Fox News, Sanders’s go-to network for disseminating her boss’s message. “She always kept her composure and she was always right on the money with what she said,” said the network’s Jesse Watters on the afternoon program “The Five.”

    In fact: Sanders stood at the White House briefing room lectern and lied. That’s not a matter of opinion. That’s not a matter of bias. That’s not a matter of analysis. It’s a documented event. On Page 72 of Volume II of the Mueller report, there’s a rundown of how Sanders spun for President Trump upon his firing of then-FBI Director James B. Comey. Faced with questions about the prudence of the dismissal, Sanders argued that “countless” FBI officials had reached out with words of support. Mueller’s investigators questioned Sanders about those comments. As it turned out, Sanders said, “countless” was a “slip of the tongue.” Another line from the report: “She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Corney was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”

    That wasn’t a media outlet’s fact-check. It was a Justice Department fact-check. Though Sanders attempted to counter-spin the Mueller report — repeating her slip-of-the-tongue claim — there was nowhere for this Trump aide to move. In an administration full of liars, Sanders was a distinguished, acclaimed liar.

    Edited from: “Bye, Bye Sarah Sanders”

    This evening’s Washington Post

    The Mueller Report suggests that Sanders lied on Trump’s behalf when she said that “countless” FBI officials had commended Trump’s dismissal of James Comey. One can imagine Trump making that claim. Perhaps Trump’s claim was on Sanders’ mind when she uttered that false assertion.

    Sanders hasn’t held a White House press briefing in 94 days. Instead she would take her briefings to Fox News where ‘journalists’ were decidedly more ‘respectful’ than the White House Press corps. Fox News, under Trump, has essentially become the official voice of this administration.

    1. And Jonathan Turley wants to be a judge. This key point informs many of his postings, it would seem.

  13. This looks like a lose-lose for the President. If he disregards the Office of Special Counsel’s recommendation to release Ms. Conway, he’s going to be criticized for lawlessness.

    If he fires Kellyanne Conway, President Trump will be open to the criticism that he did so because Ms. Conway’s husband is an outspoken critic of Trump’s.

    Previous administrations’ staff have been nakedly political – they just haven’t openly defied the Hatch Act’s specific prohibition against on-the-job advocacy for specific political candidates as Ms. Conway did. This may have led Conway to think the Hatch Act was a dead letter for someone in her position.

    Most White House employees at Conway’s level serve “at the pleasure of the President”, and do not enjoy the protections of the classified Federal Civil Service. The President or his Chief of Staff can fire them with no recourse (I’m not even sure that even “protected group” status or allegations of sexual harassment would be much practical use for a White House employee who felt they were unjustly fired).

      1. WARNING! The following spam from Kurtz is not worth your time. When corrected earlier in the week with irrefutable evidence on his specific claims against one of his targets on this subject, he refused to retract and now has doubled down on it.

        In short, he’s full of s..t and doesn’t care.

        1. Wally, what expertise on the Hatch act or interpretation the law do you have? What expertise do you have regarding the bureucracy.

          With all the shenanigans going on in the DOJ, FBI etc. one would think that you would have learned to be a bit more circumspect.

  14. I wonder, are the big newspapers like Wapo and NYT Democrat propaganda machines? I mean a lot of people think that for obvious reasons, But how does it play out? And why, why certain choices are made?

    is there any relationship by the biased and obsessive coverage of every little thing about Trump, the repetition of the Russia allegations long now after they have failed– any relationship between that, and the downgrading and omission of relevant news about Hong Kong’s protests against the PRC extradition bill, and the historically massive protests against it in Honk Kong– is there any relationship between this omission and the long standing coziness between the Chinese Communist party leadership, and the Democratic party leadership? Maybe I think, just maybe.

    Let’s roll back to 1996. Yes, that was a few years after Tianenmen.


    As president, Bill Clinton essentially wiped out any strategic advantage the U.S. had by selling advanced U.S. missile technology to our enemy, the People’s Republic of China.

    That “administration’s voluntary release of all the secrets of America’s nuclear tests, combined with the systematic theft of the secrets that were left as a result of its lax security controls, effectively wiped out America’s technological edge,” David Horowitz writes in the recently published, The Black Book of the American Left Volume 7: The Left in Power: Clinton to Obama.

    Unlike the administrations that preceded it, the Clinton administration accepted millions of dollars from the military and intelligence services of at least one hostile foreign power. All of this was done in exchange for illegal campaign contributions from a massive totalitarian country determined to eclipse the U.S. as a world superpower.

    President Clinton also lifted security controls, allowing thieves to access other vital military technologies, while disarming his own side and opposing needed defenses.

    “One of the key technological breaks China received, without having to spy to get it, was the deliverance of supercomputers once banned from export for security reasons,” writes Horowitz.

    “Supercomputers underpin the technology of nuclear and missile warfare, and not only for firing and controlling the missiles. A supercomputer can simulate a nuclear test and is thus crucial to the development of nuclear warheads. But, according to a Washington Post editorial: ‘In the first three quarters of 1998 nine times as many [supercomputers] were exported [to China] as during the previous seven years.’”

    “This transfer,” he writes, “was authorized three years after the spy thefts were detected. What rationale—besides stupidity, greed, or some other equally indefensible motive—could justify this? What responsible president or administration official, at any relevant level in any government, would allow the massive transfer of national-security assets like these to a dictatorship they knew had stolen their country’s most highly guarded military secrets?”

    Back in the 1990s, as longtime Clinton bagman Terry McAuliffe, now governor of Virginia, set records raising money for the Clintons. In that era congressional investigators unearthed an elaborate Communist Chinese money-laundering scheme.

    Under it money was funneled to the Clinton organization through businesspeople, including Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie. In that case, 94 individuals either refused questioning, pled the Fifth Amendment, or fled the country. Trie accepted a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in 1999 in exchange for providing information about questionable campaign contributions from China.

    McAuliffe helped a company called Loral Space get seats on official trade missions. He reportedly convinced the Clinton administration to overrule national security officials in order win approval for a Loral deal that gave Red China critical missile technology. Loral’s chief executive officer became the Democratic National Committee’s largest donor and McAuliffe became DNC chairman.

    According to a Wall Street Journal account from Clinton days, a bipartisan congressional inquiry “found Beijing has stolen U.S. design data for nearly all elements needed for a major nuclear attack on the U.S., such as advanced warheads, missiles, and guidance systems. Targets of the spying ranged from an Army anti-tank weapon to nearly all modern fighter jets. Most wasn’t done by professionals, but by visitors or front companies. Lax security by the Clinton Administration is blamed in part, and satellite makers Hughes and Loral are criticized.”

    China’s theft of American technology gave it a 20-year head start in developing its own nuclear warhead delivery system, Horowitz writes.

    Hughes and Loral, large contributors to Clinton’s campaign coffers, gave the Chinese technology to deliver nuclear payloads.

    “They were able to accomplish this with indispensable assistance provided by the Clinton White House that allowed them to circumvent technology controls instituted for national-security purposes by previous administrations,” writes Horowitz.

    Then-Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who was chairman of the National Security subcommittee on military research and development and is fluent in the Russian language, characterized the six years of Clinton’s administration that had thus far elapsed as “the worst period in our history in terms of undermining our national security.”….

    1. Here’s news. The Chinese Communist Party has a policy of ethnic suppression and religious persecution against the ethnic minority Uighur muslims in their far west region of Xinjiang.

      It has not missed the eyes of the human rights advocates– but it’s been barely mentioned in the American press, for quite some time as it’s progressed. This was from less than 2 weeks ago in Reuters. But did it merit any signficant coverage?

      Of course not. Trump said this; Trump said that. Another investigation, another accusation.

      Some Republicans have noticed (marco rubio). Some Democrats have too (not sure who but they say so)
      But meanwhile, the media bosses ignore major mischief

      The Trump administration has been weighing sanctions against Chinese officials, including Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, since late last year, and though it has ramped up criticism it has held back from imposing the measures.

      China has faced growing global condemnation for setting up complexes in the remote western region that U.N. experts describe as mass detention centers holding more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims.

      In March, China’s vice foreign minister defended what Beijing calls its vocational training centers for Muslims and said its “campuses” would be closed down gradually as extremist ideology is vanquished in the region.

      “Here we have got a U.S. administration that is clearly fine with the idea of imposing serious economic sanctions, but then seems to be lagging behind on imposing them for serious human rights violations,” Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, told a briefing in Geneva.

      A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers last month faulted the Trump administration for failing so far to impose sanctions over China’s alleged rights abuses against its Muslim minority and called for punitive measures against a senior Communist Party official and Chinese companies.

      The lawmakers called on the administration to apply sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. This federal law allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators around the world with freezes on any U.S. assets, U.S. travel bans and prohibitions on Americans doing business with them.

      “We believe that senior Xinjiang officials and national officials who are implicated in the crisis in Xinjiang should be subject to global Magnitsky sanctions,” Richardson said.

      “The situation in Xinjiang is far from improving. If anything, (there is) the failure to release large numbers of people, and the desire to spin this as some sort of essential national security strategy that really is about vocational training rather than arbitrary detention,” she said.

      The U.S. Senate and House are considering draft bills, variations of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, both of which enjoy “very broad bipartisan support”, she added.

      Human Rights Watch published a report this month entitled “China’s Algorithms of Repression”, on a mass surveillance app used by Xinjiang police to track citizens that has led to arrests.

      “One of our concerns coming out of this project really is about these oceanic data sets that the Chinese government has now gathered and how exactly they are being used,” Richardson said.

      The U.S.-based activist group is lobbying the 47 member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to hold China to account for abuses at the three-week session opening on June 24.

      1. Rohynga Muslims in burma caught heat, the US media wouldnt shut up about them.

        about half the number of refugees compared to how many Uighurs are now locked up, not refugees, cuz nowhere to go!

        Why the comparative lack of coverage? Perhaps because Burma lacks influence in the US mass media, thats why. Whereas, influence of China is huge.

        they’re coming at it from the ownership end too. slowly, but surely

        they had some missteps before as this elaborates– but see what they have intended for a long time

        Back to more important things like whatever Trump said in the middle of the night on tweeter. Or Sarah Huckabee’s hairdo

        1. I am glad you employing Karen’s schtick of posting diarrhea, easier to ignore

    2. What Horowitz doesn’t say is that the man who first gave China the supercomputers was Reagan. The explanation then was that it was for ‘weather-forecasting.’

      1. Savage, im not familiar with that. i’d be pleased to read about it if you have a reference?

    1. which is why the City of Lexington kicked her azz off of the local government and then they went into crisis mode to recapture lost revenue thanks to Stepahnie Wilkinson

      The Left always expects everyone to bend a knee to their sputum

      1. Historic Downtown Lexington Virginia has a poll and it’s bad news for Stephanie Wilkinson

        Another post is a poll, asking if Stephanie Wilkinson of Main Street Lexington should be able to keep her position as Director. At the time of this post, there are nearly 2,000 votes, and only 5% of those voters think Wilkinson should keep her position Main Street Lexington Director. The George Soros/Tom Steyer bots obviously aren’t having much of an effect on this poll.

        1. Get back to us with a poll from 2019. That was last year’s news.

        2. Stephanie Wilkinson and her Red Hen appear to be doing just fine in 2019.

        1. That video isn’t a current one.

          Give us some evidence that “area businesses” are still hurting.

          If people (repugs, in this case) wanted to target the Red Hen that’s one thing, but why would any sensible or prudent person take it out on other businesses in the area?

  15. Hatch Act of 1939 – Wikipedia

    The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials, from engaging in some forms …
    ‎Provisions · ‎Amendments · ‎2006 – present · ‎Current restrictions

    on the Hatch Act – Office of Special Counsel…/Candidate%20Trump%20Hatch%20Act%20Guidance%203-5-2018….

    Mar 5, 2018 – In February 2017, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) issued … the Hatch Act and President Donald Trump’s status as a candidate in the …

    The first one is an actual law passed and signed. The second is an interpretation in 2018 of the 1939 Act.

    to long to post.

  16. Someone please post the Hatch Act. Is this named after Orin Hatch?

    1. I posted a comment on the 14th about the Hatch Reform Act of 1993 which allows federal employees to engage in political activities and speak their mind when it is after hours or off duty time.

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