Even before Trump clarified he is still all in for Alabama Senate candidate and accused pedophile Roy Moore, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News to outline why Republicans should back him, and to attack Moore’s Democratic opponent, former federal prosecutor Doug Jones.
“Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal,” said Conway. “We want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”
Conway’s argument that tax cuts for the rich are worth accepting pedophilia was horrifying.
And according to former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Schaub, it was also illegal.
Mic.com reports that Schaub has filed a formal complaint against Conway, alleging she violated the Hatch Act — the rule that bars government employees from endorsing candidates or engaging in campaign activity in their official capacity.
Schaub laid out the case against Conway on Twitter:
Was she identified by her official title while advocating against that candidate? Has OSC commented on what she did? (e.g., “violated the Hatch Act by advocating for and against . . . candidates while giving a media interview”) pic.twitter.com/qYpa0eXxFZ
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
Schaub is not alone. Richard Painter, former White House lawyer to George W. Bush, called Conway’s endorsement of Moore from the White House a “firing offense.”
Schaub resigned from the Office of Government Ethics earlier this year amid frustration that Trump and Republicans in Congress were completely ignoring his ethics warnings — and in some cases, even retaliating against him. He subsequently took up a job with the Campaign Legal Center, where he is attempting to police White House corruption from the outside.
This is not Conway’s first ethics violation. In February, she directed people in a Fox interview to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” in violation of rules prohibiting government employees from promoting products or services. Then-press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway was “counseled on the subject” but never faced any disciplinary action.
Numerous other Trump officials have violated the Hatch Act. White House social media director Dan Scavino was reprimanded for attacking a Republican candidate on an official account. And Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attended a Trump rally where he signed people’s “Make America Great Again” banners, an overtly political activity.
Conway’s violation of the law to promote Trump’s political interests is simply the latest out of the ethical no man’s land that is the White House. Schaub and others must continue to take a stand and remind us what is required of an accountable, aboveboard presidency.