Kellyanne Conway ignores subpoena, ditches House testimony on alleged ethics violations
Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway ignored a subpoena Monday and ditched House testimony on allegations that she repeatedly violated federal ethics law, prompting calls for her to be held in contempt.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement after it became clear Conway wasn’t showing up for the House Oversight Committee testimony, saying the administration considered the panel’s subpoena “purely political.”
Strange that WH says Dems have harassed Kellyanne Conway with "ill-founded, phony allegations about the Hatch Act." Trump's own appointee recommended firing Conway for multiple Hatch Act violations. https://t.co/7kWtPnTLFt pic.twitter.com/wsqdYsbTz9
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) July 15, 2019
“The Committee clearly knows that under long-standing, bipartisan precedent founded in the Constitution, a president’s senior advisers cannot be compelled to appear before Congress,” Grisham’s statement read. “Immunity has been asserted for Ms. Conway, which the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel and White House Counsel strongly reaffirmed.”
Kellyanne Conway has violated federal ethics laws so many times that a government investigation found her unfit for federal service. pic.twitter.com/oChjAvUtoS
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) July 14, 2019
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings responded Conway will be held in contempt if she doesn’t change her mind by July 25.
“This is a clear cut case. We are not requiring her to testify about advice she gave the president or about the White House’s policy decisions,” Cummings, D-Md., said before adjourning the hearing on Monday. “We are requiring her to testify before Congress about her multiple violations of federal law, her waste of taxpayer funds, and her actions that compromise public confidence in the integrity of the federal government.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 15, 2019
The U.S. Office of Special, the federal government’s own ethics watchdog, issued a rare public report last month recommending that President Trump fire Conway because she repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by dragging Democratic 2020 candidates in TV interviews and over social media.
The Hatch Act, which dates back to 1939, bars all federal employees, except the president and the vice president, from using their official positions for political purposes.
“As a highly visible member of the administration, 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,” special counsel Henry Kerner, whose office is separate from Robert Mueller’s defunct investigation, said in his June 13 report. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
Kerner was appointed by Trump. Nonetheless, the president has shown no sign that he plans to act on the special counsel’s recommendation.