Washington, Dec. 17, 2019 — A federal judge should order the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to file a complaint against Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which could discipline, fine and even remove her, according to a lawsuit filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
OSC is legally required to file an MSPB complaint to formally discipline Conway for violating the Hatch Act, yet it did not follow through on its statutory obligations. The law explicitly states that should OSC determine disciplinary actions should be taken against an employee, it must immediately prepare and present a written complaint to MSPB. The lawsuit would compel OSC to comply with its duty to begin enforcement proceedings with MSPB against Conway.“Since assuming her role in the Trump administration, Kellyanne Conway has continued to unabashedly abuse the power of her position as a high-ranking government official, and to illegally use her official position for partisan politics,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “We commend OSC for bravely concluding that Conway’s behavior is unacceptable and that she must be removed from her job. But now they must take the next step and file this long-overdue MSPB complaint.”
Earlier this year, OSC determined Conway violated the Hatch Act on several occasions, and took the unprecedented step of recommending Conway be removed from federal service, following complaints from CREW. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities in their official role.
CREW filed multiple complaints against Conway, as she blatantly used her official government Twitter account and her press appearances to advocate for and against candidates for office. Conway is one of eleven Trump administration officials who have been cited for Hatch Act violations following CREW complaints.
“The Trump administration’s use of the executive branch of government for the political advancement of the President and his allies is a problem that cuts at the core of our democracy, and it is why he is at risk of being impeached. Conway’s blatant and repeated disregard for the law against misusing her office for electoral politics is one more piece of this crisis, and it is time for OSC to take the necessary and appropriate enforcement actions to hold her accountable,” said Bookbinder.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org