CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington — Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway likely violated the Hatch Act by using her official government Twitter account to post partisan political messages, promote the Republican party and retweet a post that featured an image of President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” according to a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). CREW also called on OSC to investigate whether Conway violated the Hatch Act by participating in a media interview in her official capacity and expressing political views about candidates for public office.
Kellyanne Conway is no stranger to ethics violations. In March, OSC reprimanded Conway for violating the Hatch Act on two separate occasions. Following a complaint from CREW, Conway received ethics counseling over her violation of federal ethics regulations by using her official position to promote Ivanka Trump products.
“It is far past due for the Office of Special Counsel to consider additional measures to prevent the Trump Administration’s ongoing abuse of government resources for partisan political activity,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “Never before have we seen such a pattern of continuous disregard for our laws and regulations that separate official government business from partisan campaigning. Enough is enough.”
The Hatch Act prohibits any executive branch employee from “us[ing] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” OSC guidance on applying the Hatch Act prohibitions to social media, including Twitter, specifically advises that an employee may not “use a Facebook or Twitter account in his official capacity to engage in political activity” and requires that any social media account created in a federal employee’s official capacity “remain politically neutral.” In March, OSC offered additional clarification explicitly prohibiting an employee from using the slogan “Make America Great Again,” hashtags such as #MAGA, or “any other materials from President Trump’s 2016 or 2020 campaigns.”
“The American public should never have to worry that taxpayer-funded resources and positions are being used to advance a partisan political agenda, and yet administration officials continue to illegally use their government positions for partisan politics,” said Bookbinder. “So once again, we have filed a complaint, and we will continue to do so until Trump Administration officials stop violating the law. ”
Following previous CREW complaints, multiple Trump Administration officials have been cited for Hatch Act violations including Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Deputy Assistant to the President and Communications Director for the Office of the First Lady Stephanie Grisham and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.