Kellyanne Conway has been enduring a renewed battery of much-deserved criticism and scrutiny in the wake of a letter sent to the White House by the watchdog group the Office of the Special Counsel (no relation to Robert Mueller’s investigation). In it, the OSC alleged that Conway should be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act, a statute which bans most federal officials from abusing their positions for partisan political purposes, especially campaigning.
The administration responded in shameful fashion by batting away the serious accusation and decrying that requesting Conway be fired for breaking the law is somehow a violation of her First Amendment rights.
Now, new testimony submitted by the head of the OSC to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform has been obtained by The Daily Beast. Henry Kerner, the man appointed by Trump to run the watchdog organization is set to testify before Congress this week on his office’s demand for Conway’s firing. What he has to say about Conway is incredibly damning.
“Her conduct hurts both federal employees, who may believe that senior officials can act with complete disregard for the Hatch Act, and the American people, who may question the nonpartisan operation of their government,” Kerner writes.
He explains that it’s not that Conway misunderstands the law but rather that she is willfully disregarding it. Kerner’s testimony reveals what is clearly a deep frustration at the OSC with the manner in which Trump’s right-hand woman has conducted herself. Despite the watchdog’s best efforts to get her to comply with the law, her behavior has only worsened.
“The most recent report was the result of a months-long investigation that included substantial communication with the White House. OSC repeatedly offered Ms. Conway the opportunity to come into compliance with the law. She refused to do so. In fact, the frequency of her Hatch Act violations only increased,” reads Kerner’s testimony.
Kerner’s office even went so far as to extend the deadline for when Conway had to respond to their concerns. She refused to do so.
“However, after two weeks had passed, it became clear that Ms. Conway was not planning to respond. Accordingly, we referred the report to the President on June 13 based upon Ms. Conway’s egregious, repeated, and very public violations of the law,” Kerner writes.
Kerner – who again it should be pointed out was appointed to his position by Trump —made sure to explain that he is not pursuing some personal grudge against Conway and is simply trying to uphold the law.
“I hold no personal animus toward Ms. Conway. My actions and decisions related to OSC’s reports were motivated solely by my duty to oversee enforcement of the Hatch Act and counter the obvious harms caused by Ms. Conway’s violations. Such harms include the false message her conduct sent to other federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act or that senior officials are above the law,” Kerner writes.
It’s rare to find a Trump official with any kind of interest in standing up to the blatant criminality and corruption displayed by this administration on a near daily basis, so Kerner must be commended for his persistence.
While it’s unlikely that Trump will take any action against his vile little lackey, it’s important that her crimes be well-documented and called out so as to not let this kind of misbehavior become normalized. Hopefully, once Democrats are back in control of the White House we’ll be able to hold her fully accountable.