The ethics chief for former President George W. Bush suggested Wednesday that presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway should be fired for violating the Hatch Act.
“This is an official interview. She has violated the Hatch Act by using her position to take sides in a partisan election. That is a firing offense. And for her this is strike two,” Richard Painter tweeted Wednesday.
This is an official interview. She has violated the Hatch Act by using her position to take sides in a partisan election. That is a firing offense. And for her this is strike two. https://t.co/U4kjbLu4NT— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) November 22, 2017
In a Monday interview at the White House, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, attacked Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones, a Democrat, and encouraged voters to support Republican candidate Roy Moore.
"Folks, don't be fooled. He'll be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He's strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners," Conway said. "And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he's not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him."
Co-host Brian Kilmeade then asked her, "So, vote Roy Moore?"
"I'm telling you, we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through," Conway responded.
Painter was responding to a tweet by Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, who said Wednesday he had filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
That office investigates violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal government employees from using their official title "while engaged in political activity."
"It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate," Shaub said Wednesday, referring to the Conway interview in question.
I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate. This is at least as clear a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1) as OSC identified with regard to Castro. pic.twitter.com/EwTwPriaVX— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 21, 2017
Moore is currently embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal, and many Republicans have called for him to drop out of the race. The special election to chose former Sen. Jeff Sessions’s successor is Dec. 12.
Painter's reference to "strike two" may have been a reference to Conway's ill-advised move in March to promote Ivanka Trump's clothing brand in a TV interview, though she was eventually cleared by a White House ethics lawyer for having “acted inadvertently.”