The White House thinks the laws don't apply to criminals who work for Trump.
The White House spun farcical excuses about "free speech" Thursday afternoon in an attempt to defend Kellyanne Conway's criminal behavior.
The White House is in panic mode because the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) determined that Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting certain federal employees from "engaging in partisan political activity" while in their official government capacity, and recommended she be fired.
Steven Groves, White House deputy press secretary, claimed in a statement that the OSC's actions against Conway are "unprecedented" and "violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process." Groves went on to say that following the law would have "a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees," before accusing the OSC of "weaponiz[ing] the Hatch Act."
The OSC is headed by Henry Kerner, a Trump appointee.
The White House followed up the statement with an 11-page letter to OSC written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
The letter complains that the OSC report "makes unfair and unsupported claims against a close adviser to the President" and questions whether the law even "applies to the most senior advisers to the President in the White House."
The White House also asks the OSC to "withdraw and retract the Report," insisting the report is unfair to Conway because she "was prompted by news anchors to comment on Democratic politicians" — and apparently had no choice but to respond by trashing those politicians.
The letter calls the OSC's decision to send its report "hasty" even though Conway has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act essentially from the very beginning of Trump's time in office.
Conway cared so little for the law that she said in May, "If you're trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it's not going to work." Then she added, "Let me know when the jail sentence starts."
In the report that has the White House so riled up, the OSC wrote that "Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions."
Conway's actions, according to the OSC, "erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law."
One organization advocating for ethics in government cheered the OSC decision.
"Conway's repeated violations and publicly expressed disdain for the law show a dangerous disregard for governmental ethics, the rule of law and the long-held understanding that government officials should not use their official positions to advance partisan politics," Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said in a statement. "We join OSC in calling for Kellyanne Conway to be removed from federal service."
Trump repeatedly acts as if he is above the law. Now his White House is acting as though Trump's aides are above the law.
There seems to be no end to the culture of corruption.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.