Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2019)— Today, the Committee on Oversight and Reform voted on a bipartisan basis to support Chairman Elijah E. Cummings issuing a subpoena to Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, to testify before the Committee, after she refused to appear at a Committee hearing today on her multiple violations of the Hatch Act. The resolution passed by a vote of 25 to16 with Republican Committee Member Justin Amash voting with Democrats.
Cummings made the following statement at today’s hearing:
“Here, we have a clear-cut case of a federal employee violating federal law over and over and over again. We have video of that same federal employee mocking the law itself and claiming it does not apply to her. And we have the White House asserting that Congress may not question this employee, may not investigate her repeated violations, and may not conduct oversight relating to the legislation that we on this Committee passed. This is the opposite of accountability, and it is contrary to our fundamental system of laws in this country. Nobody is above the law, not even Kellyanne Conway.”
On June 13, 2019, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the independent agency charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, sent President Trump a letter and report finding that Conway engaged in “persistent, notorious, and deliberate Hatch Act violations” and calling on the President “to remove Ms. Conway from her federal position immediately.”
The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” Under Hatch Act regulations, an employee may not use an official title or position while participating in political activity. Regulations define political activity as “an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”
On March 6, 2018, OSC sent President Trump a previous report finding that Conway “violated the Hatch Act on two occasions by advocating for and against candidates in the December 2017 Alabama special election for United States Senate.”
On June 13, 2019, Chairmen Cummings and Connolly sent a letter inviting Conway to testify at today’s hearing to address her “failure to comply with federal laws, including ethics laws and the Hatch Act,” and asked Ms. Conway to confirm her attendance by June 17, 2019.
The White House sent a letter this week notifying the Committee that Conway would not appear, claiming she has “absolute immunity” to decline all requests from Congress for testimony, including even when she has violated federal law.
Cummings refuted this claim at today’s hearing, citing longstanding precedent for White House aides to testify before the Oversight Committee, including multiple White House Counsels, the Deputy Counsel to the President, an Associate Counsel to the President, a Deputy Assistant to the President, and the Director of the White House Office of Security.
Click here to read Chairman Cummings’ full opening statement.
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