Election Law

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, watchdog agency says

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Kellyanne Conway/Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act when she opposed the candidacy of Roy Moore’s Senate opponent while appearing on television in an official capacity, according to a government watchdog agency.

That is the conclusion of a report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel—a federal investigative agency that is not part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, report the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, NPR and Politico. The findings have been submitted to President Donald Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action,” according to the report.

The Hatch Act prevents federal employees from using their official authority to interfere with or influence the outcome of an election, the report explains.

The report targeted Conway’s statements in appearances on Fox & Friends and on CNN.

In the Fox & Friends interview, she said Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, is a “doctrinaire liberal” who would be “a vote against tax cuts” and he is “weak on crime, weak on borders.”

In the CNN interview, Conway said Trump “wants Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate” and “the only endorsement that matters in this race is President Trump’s.”

Jones won the election.

The White House Counsel’s office had maintained Conway’s remarks were part of a broader discussion on the prospects for the president’s agenda, and were not intended as advocacy for or against a candidate.

On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Conway had merely “expressed the president’s obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate who support his agenda.” She did not advocate for or against a candidate, he said.

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