It’s hardly a new story- one set of rules for the powerful, entitled elites, and a very different one for ordinary workers. But rarely is a case so flagrant as Kellyanne Conway’s repeated violations of the Hatch Act.
From Government Executive:
President Trump said on Friday he would not fire adviser Kellyanne Conway despite a recommendation from a federal watchdog agency that he do so.
The Office of Special Counsel called for Conway’s dismissal on Thursday, labeling her a “repeat offender” in violating the Hatch Act for expressing overtly political views from her official White House role. Noting that Trump has authority to discipline Conway, the report said, “OSC recommends that she be removed from federal service.”
Trump quickly rejected that recommendation in an interview with Fox News Friday.
“I’m not gonna fire her,” Trump told Fox and Friends. “I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokesperson.” The president added that he would not counsel Conway to alter her behavior: “It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech.”
Govexec lists a number of situations where feds were disciplined and fired for the same violations Conway has committed, and several involved postal workers:
- Last year, OSC referred to the Merit Systems Protection Board a U.S. Postal Service employee for violating the Hatch Act by running for partisan elected office while serving in his federal position. The MSPB judge removed the employee.
- 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, all despite warnings from a supervisor. One of the Ohio-based employees received a 30-day suspension and the other 60 days without pay.
It will be interesting to see whether Trumps’s actions will be invoked in future legal proceedings involving the Hatch Act- how would Trump’s very politicized Justice Department justify firing one employee while laughing off Conway’s violations?