- White House counselor Kellyanne Conway may be forced to testify before the House Oversight Committee if she doesn’t attend a hearing this week concerning her Hatch Act violations.
- The Hatch Act prohibits employees in the executive branch from engaging in political activity while working in their official roles.
- The Office of Special Counsel previously announced it had determined that Conway violated the Hatch Act and recommended she be fired, which Trump dismissed as a “free speech” issue.
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The House Oversight Committee has been authorised to subpoena testimony from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway over her Hatch Act violations.
A memo released by the committee to lawmakers said Conway would be forced to testify as part of the hearing scheduled for June 26 focused on Conway’s activities that are in contrast to the act.
The committee said it had invited Conway on June 13 to testify at the hearing, and neither she nor the White House accepted or declined the invite.
This is the latest development in Conway’s troubles with the act after President Donald Trump shielded her from federal investigators who recommended her firing.
The Hatch Act is a 1939 law that prohibits employees in the executive branch from engaging in political activity while working in their official roles.
The Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency that enforces the Hatch Act, previously announced it had determined that Conway violated the Hatch Act and recommended she be “removed from federal service.”
Activities that are prohibited under the act include campaign-related actions like using official authority to interfere with or influence an election, soliciting or receiving political contributions, wearing or displaying partisan political buttons, T-shirts, or signs.
The office specified in the letter that Conway is a “repeat offender,” as she regularly disparages Democratic presidential candidates while making official comments as a presidential counselor on-air and on social media.
Trump defended Conway in an interview with Fox News, saying the incidents cited against her seemed to concern issues of free speech.
“She’s got to have the right of responding to questions,” Trump said. “It really sounds to me like a free speech thing. It doesn’t sound fair.”