Kellyanne Conway broke law during Alabama election, says watchdog

Kellyanne Conway broke law during Alabama election, says watchdog

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the federal law prohibiting government officials from using their positions to influence political campaigns, according to a federal watchdog.

According to the special counsel, their office "submitted the report to the President for appropriate disciplinary action".

The Office of Special Counsel found that senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice when she appeared in two separate interviews.

In a Fox News Channel appearance on November 20, Conway talked about why voters should not back Jones, and in a CNN interview on December 6 she laid out why they should support Moore, the report said.

Richard Painter, who served as the White House chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, said it is unprecedented - at least in the last few decades - for a White House to deny the findings of the independent ethics office.

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Walter Shaub, the former head of US government ethics watchdog the Office of Government Ethics, filed a complaint after Conway's first appearance, saying it violated the 1939 law. During a Fox & Friends appearance in November, she told viewers, "Doug Jones in Alabama?".

"Doug Jones in Alabama. folks, don't be fooled", Conway said. "He's awful for property owners". Among other things, she said Jones would be "a vote against tax cuts", adding that "he's weak on crime, weak on borders".

"As we've said many times before, there was no collusion with the Trump campaign", she said, noting that Mr Nunberg had never worked at the White House.

The act, first passed in 1939, prohibits nearly all federal employees in the executive branch from engaging in most forms of partisan political activity.

In response, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that Conway was actually complying with the Hatch Act.

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The White House hit back against the report, saying that Conway, in her interviews, had merely "expressed the president's obvious position" to prefer people in Congress "who support his agenda". The OSC's warning for Haley noted the Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice president.

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".

Responding to questions about Moore's sexual misconduct abusers, including a woman who claimed he had assaulted her when she was a teenager, Conway protested that 'nobody came forward before.

The White House responded to the OSC in a statement Tuesday denying that Conway's remarks a year ago on Fox and CNN were any more than an "obvious" statement of Trump's views. OSC is not related to the ongoing special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller into the Trump Administration.

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