Office of Special Counsel Recommends Kellyanne Conway’s Removal from Office for Repeated Ethics Violations, Following CLC Complaints

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WASHINGTON – In response to a Hatch Act complaint filed by Campaign Legal Center (CLC), the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a letter to President Donald Trump recommending that Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway be removed from office. CLC received the letter by email today from Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of OSC’s Hatch Act Unit. The letter calls Conway’s repeated Hatch Act violations “egregious, notorious, and ongoing,” and says that “her actions erode the principle foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law.” While OSC investigates Hatch Act violations, only the president can execute disciplinary action against a federal employee at Conway’s level.

Delaney Marsco, ethics counsel at CLC, released the following statement:

“We applaud the Office of Special Counsel for taking this matter seriously and issuing a scathing rebuke of Conway’s careless approach to ethics laws. Strict compliance with the Hatch Act is necessary to keep partisan politics independent from the administration of federal programs, and to ensure officials do not use their entrusted authority to affect the political process. Now the ball is in the White House’s court. If the President fails to follow through on OSC’s recommendations, it sends a signal that there is one set of rules for average federal workers, and another set of rules for people close to the president."

Most recently, CLC filed a complaint against Conway with OSC on May 8 when Conway made partisan political remarks about the 2020 presidential election campaign in her official capacity: she discussed official topics alongside the partisan political attacks, and she was on White House property, with the White House and the executive office buildings clearly visible in the background. Last year, following CLC’s complaints, OSC determined that Conway violated the Hatch Act by using interviews with Fox & Friends and CNN’s New Day to advocate against the election of a U.S. Senate candidate.

OSC cited these and other examples of Conway’s Hatch Act violations in recommending that she be removed from office. This is not the first time OSC sought severe discipline for Hatch Act violations:

  • Last year, OSC sought removal of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee for repeated Hatch Act violations.
  • In 2015, OSC secured a 112-day suspension for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee who engaged in partisan political activity in the workplace and solicited political contributions.
  • In 2014, OSC secured the resignation of a Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney who had posted partisan political tweets and participated in an online media interview from an FEC facility where she criticized the Republican Party and its presidential candidate.
  • Also in 2014, OSC levied a 100-day unpaid suspension against an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee who urged callers to to reelect President Obama over an IRS help line.
  • OSC also secured a 14-day suspension of an IRS employee who criticized Republicans in her conversations with a taxpayer.

Learn more about the actions CLC has taken urging enforcement of the Hatch Act.