Updated Jun 25, 2019

House Oversight to subpoena Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violations

Kellyanne Conway. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee will vote on Wednesday to authorize a subpoena for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for testimony connected to her violations of the Hatch Act if she does not voluntarily show up to the committee's hearing.

Context: The Hatch Act bars federal employees from engaging in political activity that could influence the results of an election while operating in their official capacity. The Office of Special Counsel, a civil service watchdog, determined earlier this month that Conway violated the Hatch Act by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in an official capacity during television interviews and on social media," and recommended she be removed from office.

What they're saying:

  • Following the release of the OSC report, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said in a statement: "Trump should terminate Ms. Conway's employment immediately in light of these dozens of violations of federal law. Allowing Ms. Conway to continue her position of trust at the White House would demonstrate that the President is not interested in following the law."
  • The White House, meanwhile, has dismissed the allegations: "OSC’s draft report is based on multiple fundamental legal and factual errors, makes unfair and unsupported claims against a close adviser to the president, is the product of a blatantly unfair process that ignored statutory notice requirements, and has been influenced by various inappropriate considerations."
  • The White House notified House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings in a letter Monday that Conway would not be testifying at the hearing.

The big picture: Conway would be the fourth current or former White House official to be subpoenaed by a Democratic committee in 2019. The others are former White House counsel Don McGahn, former deputy counsel Annie Donaldson and former communications director Hope Hicks.

Memo to Oversight members:

Go deeper

Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.

Go deeperArrow59 mins ago - Health

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.