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Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, watchdog says

Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, watchdog says

WASHINGTON – Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, violated a law last year that forbids federal employees from using their official titles while engaging in partisan politics, the watchdog that oversees the law reported Tuesday. The White House denied that she broke the law, making it unlikely she will face any discipline from President Trump.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said in a report that Conway violated the 1939 Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, better known as the Hatch Act, twice, in interviews with “Fox & Friends” on Nov. 20 and with CNN’s “New Day” on Dec. 6. Appearing on both programs in her official capacity as counselor to the president, Conway weighed in on the Alabama Senate race in support of Republican candidate Roy Moore, OSC said.  Moore lost the special election, which was held on Dec. 12.

“Both instances constituted prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act and occurred after Conway received significant training on Hatch Act prohibitions,” OSC said in a statement. The Hatch Act forbids all but a few federal employees from engaging in partisan politics while on duty, and those permitted to do so cannot use their formal titles.

It’s not the first time Conway has been in trouble for public remarks in her official taxpayer-funded role. In February 2017, the White House said she had been “counseled” after inappropriately promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say,” she said on “Fox & Friends.” “This is just [a] wonderful line. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Federal ethics rules prohibit using public office for anyone’s private gain, including product endorsements.

Just last month, the Trump reelection campaign came in for criticism for using the formal title of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — assistant to the president — in a press release announcing the appointment of a campaign manager for the 2020 race. The title was deleted after the campaign was alerted to the potential legal impropriety.

The OSC report lists multiple occasions on which Conway was informed of what constitutes a prohibited partisan political activity under the Hatch Act, “in a formal ethics training session, during individual conversations, and in multiple written communications.”

 aides an email entitled “Political Activities an

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