Washington (AFP) – Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway twice broke the law by endorsing Republican candidates while acting in her role as a taxpayer-paid civil servant, a government watchdog said Tuesday.
The Office of the Special Counsel — a government ethics body unrelated to Robert Mueller’s investigation — said the 51-year old who ran Trump’s successful election campaign violated the Hatch Act on two occasions.
In a report to the White House, the watchdog said Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election” in December 2017.
It is now up to Donald Trump what disciplinary action is taken against Conway, who has become one of the most recognizable faces of the administration on cable TV news.
A White House statement indicated punishment was unlikely.
“Kellyanne Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley claimed.
“She simply expressed the President’s obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate who support his agenda.”
Past White House officials both Republican and Democrat have gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid commenting on specific elections and running afoul of the rules.
The Trump White House has shown a little less concern.
The president’s right-hand-man and social media director has already been reprimanded for tweets that the watchdog found interfered with an election.