Not that Special Counsel. Mueller's office is the Special Counsel's Office. This is from the Office of Special Counsel, which is different. It issued a report on May 30. Is it as ambiguous as the one from the other Special Counsel?
"The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) calls on President Donald J. Trump to remove Ms. Conway from her federal position immediately . . ."(1)
No ambiguity so far.
"The Hatch Act prohibits federal civilian executive branch employees from using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election . . ."(2)
"Ms. Conway’s advocacy against the Democratic candidates and open endorsement of the President’s reelection effort during both official media appearances and on her Twitter account constitute prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act. Accordingly, she repeatedly continues to violate the law"(3)
The report concludes:
"Ms. Conway’s Hatch Act violations are egregious, notorious, and ongoing"(4).
Seems pretty clear to me. And the response from Donald Trump?
"It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech."(5)
For the avoidance of any doubt, this is not a parody or spoof. It's the actual response from the actual president.
A formal response from the White House followed. It said the report is:
". . . based on multiple fundamental legal and factual errors, makes unfair and unsupported claims against a close adviser to the President, is the product of a blatantly unfair process that ignored statutory notice requirements, and has been influenced by various inappropriate considerations"(6)
So to recap. A federal agency, whose role it is to act as a watchdog against federal employees violating the law, concluded that Conway's actions are an "egregious" and "notorious" violation of the law. Donald Trump's response is that his own administration is violating the Constitution by attempting to take away the "free speech" of his own White House Counselor, who has been accused of violating the law by his own Special Counsel. And the official response from White House effectively says that the current administration's Office of Special Counsel is so inept, it cannot conduct a factual, fair, unbiased investigation into a violation of the Hatch Act.
And what did the Special Counsel who wrote the report have to say about that criticism?
"I am a Trump appointee . . . "(7)
Would have been great if he'd dropped the mic at that point. Alas he didn't, he said: ". . . I have no animus toward Kellyanne whatsoever . . . my job is to make sure the federal workforce stay as depoliticized and as fair as possible."
Sounds sensible, which is where he went wrong.
My main questions are:
1. Is there anyone in the current administration who does not have a blatant disregard for the law?
2. Is there now going to be an investigation into the Office of Special Counsel too, to uncover all the "inappropriate considerations" in this investigation. Does this mean every agency that ever publishes a report critical of any member of the current administration will be investigated for bias?
3. How long do we think it will be before the Special Counsel who wrote this report decides to "retire"?
(1) https://osc.gov/Resources/Report%20to%2 … %20Act.pdf
(5) https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics … CID=MD11T1
I emphasize with your angst Don, but take a breath. Clearly, you aren't surprised by this, and like all that has come before, this too shall pass.
Even though it may be beside the point of legality, do you think what she says carries any weight beyond a certain base of voters?.
It's against the law, Gus! Dammit, do you even care? An Obama advisor was chastised for a lot less than this. Conway repeatedly broke the rules, but some simply do not care.
Chill out Randy. Did something in my comment tell you I think what she did was legal?
Speaking of legal, isn't it just her badmouthing of Pres. Trump opponents/criticizers that is being characterized as pernicious political activities that have determined her actions to be illegal?
Could the legality part boil down to; ". . . she impermissibly mixed her personal political views with official government agency business”? Do you think her comments amounted to intimidation? Did she use her official position to "tangibly reward" a political interest?
Hells bells, Jaywalking is illegal too, let's call out the firing squad.
Surely you will take this as a defense of Ms. Conway, but it is really just a critique of the silliness of the Act's application in this instance.
I found the Republican's Hatch Act charges against a couple of Pres. Obama's folks just as silly.
The difference was Obama's people admitted they should not have done it, while Conway continues to violate the rule. Of course, Trump loves when his cronies break the rules, ala the Trump Tower meeting as simply one example. And yes, I do take your comment as a defense for Conway.
I knew you would see my comment as a defense of Conway. You are wrong. but it is a small matter so no worries.
How could I not take it as such, GA Making light of Conway's unethical behavior only encourages other Trumpsters to be satisfied with her actions. Of course, most are already happy Trump's cronies are as unethical as he is.
Yes Randy, comparatively speaking, (regarding the intentions of the Act), I was making light of her comments as seriously consequential actions.
However, as you point out, regarding further encouraging "Trumpsters," and as Don points out regarding "the bigger picture," I do not take her continuation of similar actions to be inconsequential.
She has been called out. I think it would be very serious if she continued. What she does next will be very consequential.
Can't let this one stand, GA. I could agree with you if Kellyanne had acknowledged her error when first warned and then sincerely tried to not do it again. Instead, she is defiantly continuing to break the law and thumbing her nose at the special counsel and the country she is supposed to be serving.
Like most Trumpeters she exemplifies party over country and Trump.over everything else. She is almost as disgusting as her sleazy boss.
I have a similar opinion of her PrettyPanther. I even agree that she is thumbing her nose at the authorities. And that she is a Trumpian.
But, although her actions do fall within the parameters of the Hatch Act I don't see them encompassed by the spirit of the Act.
Her violations of the Act's parameters are her actions of expressing overtly political views from her official White House role. I agree she's guilty as charged.
The "spirit" of the Hatch Act was driven by the Democrat's use of the WPA as a tool for bribery and patronage. The spirit behind the 'political activity from a Federally funded office' was to outlaw the patronage bribery, (jobs), committed by the Democrat-controlled WPA administrator.
Regarding my comparison to Jaywalking, here are some recent OSC Hatch Act determinations;
"In 2018, OSC reached an agreement with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee who repeatedly told coworkers to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The employee agreed to resign and faced a five-year ban on federal service."
"OSC last year also reached a settlement to suspend without pay two USPS employees after they brought campaign posters for preferred political candidates into their office, announced their endorsements during a meeting and filmed themselves discussing politics inside their official postal vehicles"
"Just last year, OSC reprimanded six White House officials for using Trump’s “make America great again” campaign slogan in official tweets."
"Also last year, OSC found a Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly in violation of the Hatch Act when, at an event in which he used his official title, O’Rielly advocated for Trump’s reelection and the election of other conservatives."
I think all of these examples point out that Ms. Conway's actions are illegal under the Act. I also think some of the noted instances are pretty damn petty and could possibly draw thoughts of Free Speech Rights.
With all that noted, I think she should suffer consequences for her continued actions and attitude. I would fire her if it were my decision.
Which part can't you let stand? I didn't defend Ms. Conway. I didn't say the Hatch Act charges were bogus. I didn't claim her actions didn't matter - legally.
However, I did say: "Surely you will take this as a defense of Ms. Conway, but it is really just a critique of the silliness of the Act's application in this instance."
Is that the part you disagree with?
Yes. Why is it silly when she keeps doing it? I think it's sad..
Yes, that's the part I disagree with. I don't think the application is silly. I think it's important to not let her repeated and intentional defiance of the law set a new standard for the behavior of White House staff.
You're right, it's no surprise to me. But I wish I could see it as a minor issue. Sadly, I can only see it as part of the wider pattern of behavior the current administration has engaged in which, accumulatively, is a serious attack on the rule of law and the Constitution. The phrase "death by a thousand cuts" is apt here.
The report explains why removing Conway from federal service is appropriate, and the wider implications of the issue:
"Ms. Conway’s persistent, notorious, and deliberate Hatch Act violations have created an unprecedented challenge to this office’s ability to enforce the Act, as we are statutorily charged. She has willfully and openly disregarded the law in full public view…
Ms. Conway’s conduct undermines public confidence in the Executive branch and compromises the civil service system that the Hatch Act was intended to protect. Her knowing and blatant disregard for the law aggravates the severity of her numerous violations.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which adjudicates Hatch Act violations, repeatedly has held that removal is the appropriate discipline when employees were warned and/or had substantial knowledge before engaging in prohibited political activity. In accordance with MSPB precedent involving similar aggravating factors, OSC respectfully requests Ms. Conway’s removal from federal service"(1).
This from a public official appointed by Trump, who has no vested interest in attacking Conway or the current administration and, based on Trump's MO, every interest in not doing so.
From refusing to provide tax returns to Congress despite the law explicitly saying it must, through blanket refusals to comply with Congressional subpoenas, and what appears to be a case of obstructing justice, this is just another example of how little respect the current president and administration officials have for the rule of law.
And when you run on a platform of "law and order". When the party you are leader of is called the "law and order" party. When you use the importance of the "rule of law" to justify certain morally dubious immigration policies (watch my mention of the "I" word bring the usual suspects out of the woodwork). When you say things like:
"Republicans are the party of law, order, and justice—and we are also the party of JOBS, JOB, JOBS."(2)
. . . then I'm sorry but that elevates Trump's inaction in the face of egregious law breaking in his administration to a greater level of duplicity.
And where is the "law and order" party? Apparently the Republican Party cares enough about the rule of law to ban Sanctuary cities in Florida, even though there are no sanctuary cities in Florida, but not enough to comment on an administration official who has repeatedly broken the law and continues to undermine the oversight process. People like Lindsey "rule of law" Graham are even busy effectively advising private citizens to ignore a Congressional subpoena(3).
I believe there is currently a constitutional crisis. The Executive has simply decided to ignore the authority of Congress, which is an attack on the Constitution. And the Senate seems to have simply abdicated its Constitutional duty to provide oversight of the Executive.
How much of this systematic undermining of the law and the Constitution does it take for it to become more than a minor issue? How much does it take to reach the point of "enough is enough"?
(1) https://osc.gov/Resources/Report%20to%2 … %20Act.pdf
(2) https://twitter.com/gop/status/10501679 … 68?lang=en
(3) https://thinkprogress.org/judiciary-cha … 515783885/
Don I read through your comment twice. I couldn't find anything to disagree with.
My point was never about the larger picture of your comment and it was never intended as a defense of Ms. Conway. My point was about what I think is the over-zealous use of the Act. I offered a few examples in my reply to PrettyPanther.
Trump apologists will claim that a couple of Obama people violated the act. They did once, admitted their guilt and Obama said he would make sure it didn't happen again.
For those reasons, the Office of Special Counsel did not recommend they get removed from office.
Conway broke the law numerous times and flipped the bird at the OSC. “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work," she said.
Trump as usual is flipping the bird on this one as well.
If we're going to have any laws, they have to be enforced, even in an Trump administration that shows no respect for laws.
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